The Minnesota Timberwolves have improved quite a bit this season compared to last year. Much of that can be attributed to Ricky Rubio, some of it to the improved play of Nikola Pekovic, and surely a great portion of the credit belongs to Rick Adelman, mostly through virtue of the fact that he's allocating minutes differently. But the very fact that Adelman is willing to reduce the playing time of underperforming players with large contracts (NO_SUCH_PLAYER(Darko Milicic, Michael Beasley) has me mystified about one thing: why does Weley Johnson ever play, much less start?
Taking a look at the Minnesota wing players, one thing is obvious: they are all pretty bad. But as I have written before, bad is an upgrade from terrible. And Wes Johnson is having a historically terrible season. And unlike Tolliver and Webster, it would be hard to make an argument that this is sample size, and that Wes Johnson is going through a bad stretch, because...well, I will let Wes' 2010-11 speak for itself:
Basically, Wes has always been terrible. He's now approaching the 3000 minute mark and has yet to come anywhere close to average-level performance. And for a player who could only ever possibly hope to justify his minutes by claiming to be a good defender, he sure is bad at some defensive stats like fouls and steals and getting defensive rebounds.
Again, I would like to emphasize that Martell Webster and Anthony Tolliver are by no means great players. But for all their faults, they've each demonstrated over their careers that they can at least flirt with being average NBA players. This would be a massive upgrade for the Timberwolves. To get some perspective on just how bad Wes is, let's look back on Rashad McCants. Remember how he was so bad that he played himself out of the league completely and became a laughingstock in the NBA? He shot so bad that he was benched completely by arguably the worst team in the NBA?
|Rashad McCants in 08-09||36.0%||38.7%||31.9%||74.1%||42.5%||47.0%||22.0||9.0||6.1|
|Wesley Johnson Now||37.9%||48.4%||22.1%||57.1%||42.3%||43.2%||13.8||5.6||1.4|
I mean...doesn't that say a lot? Johnson's TS% is 10% worse than the worst shooting guard season in recent memory.
And of course, this is just numbers. This isn't even accounting for all the times I have seen Wes just do something bone-crushingly stupid in a game; he's supposed to be a defensive specialist but he's one of the team's poorest decision makers on defense; he fouls players under the basket, but rarely hard enough, so players like Metta World Peace get to pad their horrible stats with generous And-1s. He rotates poorly versus shooters or closes out too strong vs players that don't shoot well from outside. His shot selection is still terrible. At this point, every minute that Wes plays just seems like somebody in the Wolves' organization is just being obstinate.