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2016 Clippers Exit Interviews: Wesley Johnson

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The 2016 exit interviews series continues with backup forward Wesley Johnson.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Name: Wesley (Wes) Johnson

Age: 28

Key Stats: 20.8 minutes per game in 80 games played, 6.9 points, 1.1 steals, and 3.1 rebounds per game on 40.4/33.3/65.2 shooting

Years in NBA: 6

2015-2016 NBA Salary: $1,100,600

Future Contract Status: Player Option for $1,227,300 (will probably decline)

Summary: After two years with the Los Angeles Lakers, Wes Johnson appeared to be turning his career around. Originally labeled a bust as the 4th pick in the stacked 2010 draft, Wes started hitting 3 pointers at a solid percentage and increased his rate of steals and blocks. Johnson didn’t receive a bigger contract despite this improvement, but did sign with the Clippers to try to make the playoffs for the first time in his career. He got his wish, even though the playoff run lasted only one round. Wes also set career highs with 80 games played and 89 steals, which should be enough to get him a solid deal in free agency were he to opt out of his player option.

Strengths: Wes Johnson does a little bit of everything. He can hit open three pointers, run the floor in transition, and play some defense. He almost always gives full effort, and he does the little things that don’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet. Wes is tall, lengthy, athletic, and looks every bit the part of an NBA small forward or small ball four. Sometimes he can reach back to his more youthful days and throw down a thunderous dunk or lob jam. His overall talents remain as tantalizing as ever.

Weaknesses: Jack of all trades, master of none. While Wes can do just about everything, he is above average at nothing at the NBA level. This past year he was a relatively poor outside shooter (though he dipped from his previous two years and might return to his mean in the future), making only 33% from deep. Despite his length and size, Wes isn’t a great defender, though he can pile up steals and blocks. And while the effort is always there, the attention to detail can be lacking, as Wes is prone to mental screw-ups fairly frequently, especially on defense.

Future as a Clipper: Wes is just about a lock to opt out of his player option for the 2017 season. While he didn’t have a "breakout year" by any stretch, he was a solid role player on a contending team, and that is enough to make him much more than the veteran’s minimum in free agency. The Clippers do have the BAE and MLE, but they will probably save the MLE for a bigger target, and Wes will most likely get a better offer than the 2/4.5 deal of the BAE. Doc might be able to sweet talk him into something, maybe by promising a bigger deal in the coming years, but despite mutual interest it seems unlikely that Wes will return to the Clips next year.

Best Moment of the Year: On December 5, Wes unloaded against the Orlando Magic, hitting 6 three pointers and scoring 21 points. In a classic Wes Johnson stat line, he also put up 7 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block.