Four guys above, four guys below. Wesley Johnson is the man in the middle of our 9 players, 9 days series. Thoughts and info after the jump.
Age: 23 (in July)
Weight: 195 lbs. (DraftExpress), 198 lbs. (ESPN)
If fit or team needs were the primary concern, Wesley Johnson would probably be at the top of this list. If I take a step back and look at the Sixers roster, the #1 need in the short term is a wing who can score and shoot. Wesley Johnson is that guy. Deep range on his jumper, positional versatility, decent defender (at least). I firmly believe Johnson could step in and be a 20 ppg scorer playing off Jrue and Iguodala's playmaking skills. He wouldn't be a liability on the defensive end and he'd help the running game. Short term, the guy who definitely makes this team better in 2010-2011 is Wesley Johnson.
Long term, does he move the needle enough? The odds of Johnson becoming a superstar are probably nonexistent. I believe he's going to be a really solid pro. I think if Jrue really progresses, Johnson could make a career off of drive-and-kick situations. He could score a ton of points. But if you're of the mind that you absolutely have to have a superstar to be truly relevant in this league, Johnson isn't going to be that guy. In a weird way, he'd probably hurt your chances of getting a superstar in the draft by making the team better.
If you're asking yourself why I have Johnson at #5, considering I think he's the best fit, the answer is simple. I think the four guys above him all have a chance at being a superstar, a guy who can carry a team. Johnson is a cog, and a very good one, but the other four all have the potential to be a centerpiece, in one way or another.
YouTube is having some problems right now, but this link should take you to a Wesley Johnson highlight reel.
To be clear, if the Sixers wind up at #6 or lower I'll be completely thrilled if Wesley Johnson winds up being the pick. No hesitation, he's a great fit. He's probably worth trading up for as well. But if they wind up with a top-three pick, he shouldn't be a consideration.
Here's a look at my top 9, including WJ:
9. Ed Davis
8. Cole Aldrich
7. Ekpe Udoh
6. Al-Farouq Aminu
5. Wesley Johnson
4. Coming tomorrow
Thoughts in the comments, as usual. Check back around noon for this week's "Pressing Questions" thread.