Mitch Kupchak Believes Wes Johnson Could Be Ariza, Cooper Type

Wesley-Johnson-Los-Angeles-Lakers-Mike-DAntoni-While Mitch Kupchak is at the Las Vegas Summer League, Lakers spokesperson John Black shared with the media a private conversation he had with Kupchak after signing Wesley Johnson at his introductory press conference.

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Although Johnson hasn’t quite lived up to expectations as the fourth overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Kupchak is optimistic that he can develop into a Michael Cooper or Trevor Ariza type player:

“He thinks Wesley can develop into a Michael Cooper or Trevor Ariza type player. Mitch will probably be mad at me for sharing that with you guys publicly. But I think all Laker fans would be very happy if something like that were to happen, as would we.”

It’s likely a stretch, but Johnson seems at peace with himself and is committed to playing his best in the bright lights of Los Angeles. He no longer thinks about trying to live up to those expectations coming out of Syracuse and is finally free to play his game with the help of Kobe, Gasol, and Nash.

This will be the first time in Johnson’s career where he will play with a veteran team that allows him to play to his strengths. While he may never develop into Cooper or Ariza, any resemblance of those players will help the Lakers as they are desperately looking for a lock-down perimeter defender.

Johnson struggled early but came on strong near the end of last season. In the last two months of last season, Johnson averaged 13.0 points in 28.8 minutes.

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