Lakers’ Wesley Johnson vows to play like “a wild man”

first_imgJohnson maintained that five days in between games has given him plenty of time to address a number of areas. He reported watching lots of film. Johnson and Lakers coach Byron Scott have had frequent conversations. So has Kobe Bryant, the Lakers’ star who hosted offseason workouts for Johnson this summer.“ ‘Play like your family depends on it,’ ” Johnson recalled Bryant saying. “Play with everything on the line.”Bryant has preached that same message to everyone on the Lakers team, arguing that teammates need to match his “relentlessness.” That criticism has followed Johnson everywhere after having uneventful seasons in Minnesota (2010-12) and Phoenix (2012-13). The Lakers re-signed Johnson to a one-year deal around $1 million after he posting a career-high 9.1 points per game last season.“He has to be a little more assertive,” Scott said. “He can’t worry about me taking him out. I’m not going to take him out for taking a bad shot or making a mistake offensively.”Scott offered similar feedback during most of training camp, leaving the Lakers’ head coach to concede that he needs to “keep pushing him.” “He hasn’t really scratched the surface on how good he can be as a basketball player on both ends of the floor,” Scott said. “We’ve seen it from time to time. But we want it to see more on a consistent basis.”Slim fastTNT analyst Charles Barkley made another bold and outlandish statement“I’m not going to eat again until the Lakers win a game,” Barkley said Thursday on the TNT telecast. Barkley later said he “won’t eat another meal” and joked he will drink water and vodka. “Charles right now is praying that we win Sunday,” Scott said. “I don’t believe he’s going on a hunger strike.”Injury updateLakers forward Ryan Kelly sat out for a second consecutive practice on Friday and is listed as questionable for Sunday against Charlotte. Scott reported Kelly’s right hamstring “tightened” after playing only seven minutes Tuesday against Phoenix. A week has passed by, and the Lakers haven’t just opened the season with their worst start in L.A. franchise history.Wesley Johnson has also failed to deliver on a promise he has preached multiple times everywhere he has played in the NBA, including the Lakers. After vowing that he will become more consistent and aggressive during the 2014-15 season, Johnson has averaged eight points on 40 percent shooting and four rebounds as the team’s starting small forward. His length and athleticism has done little in bolstering a defense that has allowed a league-worst 118 points per game.Johnson insisted that will all change when the Lakers (0-5) host the Charlotte Hornets (2-3) on Sunday at Staples Center.“I’m ready to play,” Johnson said following Friday’s practice at the Lakers’ facility in El Segundo. “The sky’s the limit for me. It’s just going out there and playing like a wild man”.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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