Clippers want Wesley Johnson to shoot more than he ever has before
Shoot the basketball, Wesley Johnson.
He hears it all the time from the Clippers coaching staff.
And yet Johnson remains hesitant, despite knowing that coach Doc Rivers wants his small forward to shoot his shot when it’s available.
“They want me to shoot a little more,” Johnson said Saturday, smiling. “I understand that they do, but it’s just me letting it come to me. I just see how the game feels out and then just go like that. But I think they want me to just go out there and just have an imprint on the game. Just go out there and junk it up, do whatever.”
Johnson did shoot the ball Friday at Cleveland, looking more engaged than he has all season. He was six for 10 from the field, scoring 15 points.
“We just tell him to stay engaged,” Rivers said. “It’s good to see that even though he had struggled in a couple of games he still has his confidence to do that.”
The key is for Johnson to stay connected and not drift during the game.
Against the Cavaliers, Johnson also had seven rebounds, four assists, four blocks and three steals. On Saturday at Charlotte, he was just four of 11 for nine points but also had five rebounds and two blocks.
“It’s just letting it come to me,” Johnson said. “And it’s making sure I have an impact on the defensive end and not really letting the offense dictate how I play. I just need to stay on the defensive end and get some easy points by stay cutting, stay moving instead of just standing there.”
The Clippers know what they have in Johnson, 30, who’s in his third season with them and never has averaged more than 6.4 shots per game as a Clipper.
But Johnson entered Saturday making a career-best 45.8 percent of his shots this season, and he knows that injures to Patrick Beverley (right knee), Danilo Gallinari (left glute) and Milos Teodosic (left foot) mean he has to pick up his play.
“It’s tough because everybody has to pick up the slack,” Johnson said. “I’m one of those guys that’s in the rotation and I have to be ready.”
The Clippers called up guard C.J. Williams from their Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario team that plays in the development league. The former North Carolina State standout scored two points and had four rebounds against the Hornets in his NBA debut.
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