3 teams that should consider signing Tyler Johnson
Another serviceable combo guard has been added to the NBA unrestricted free agent list, as the Phoenix Suns opened up a roster spot by waiving Tyler Johnson on Sunday.
With several teams unable to reach a deal upon the trade deadline last Thursday, picking up from the free agent pool will be their last chance to improve their rosters this season.
Tyler Johnson, 27, might just be the most enticing option at the moment. He likely won’t be available for long and teams must quickly pounce on the opportunity to avail of his services.
The undrafted guard out of Fresno State carved out a nice four-year tenure with the Miami Heat from 2015-2019. His style of play did not seem to fit the Suns’ current vision, as he was relegated to head coach Monty Williams’ dog house recently.
The 6-foot-3 lefty has developed into a good role player, with career averages of 10.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.4 assists. In 301 total games played, Johnson is a career 50 percent shooter from the field, 35.8 percent from three, and has a 77 percent success rate from the charity stripe.
Let’s take a look at three teams that should sign him up for the rest of the season.
Riding the high of a three-game winning streak, the Denver Nuggets have leap-frogged the Los Angeles Clippers for the second-best record in the Western Conference at 37-16.
With the second half of the season fast approaching, the Nuggets will need some fresh legs to alleviate some minutes off their talented backcourt of Jamal Murray and Garry Harris. With his ability to play both guard positions, Johnson will be a perfect complementary piece for head coach Mike Malone.
Denver certainly took a hit when they had to give up Malik Beasley to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a four-team, 12-player trade last week. Johnson certainly has the ability to assume that role for the Nuggets.
Winners of their last 13 games, the defending champions are the hottest team in the league right now. Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet have both been phenomenal for coach Nick Nurse. Injuries, however, have already kept them out of commission this year.
Adding Johnson will be good insurance just in case the injury bug decides to terrorize Toronto once more. His ability to drive into the lane and drain the long ball will indeed be of use to Toronto’s guard-oriented offense.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Purple and Gold had to deal with a wrench on their plans after a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed that their prime target Darren Collison has decided to stay retired this season. With him out of the picture, the Lakers should go all-in on the next best thing.
They still need a secondary floor general — a role that Johnson has struggled to fulfill at times. Signing Johnson might not be the most ideal, but it’s still good to have a back-up plan to ensure they keep the top spot in the West.
Johnson might just be the player they need since the Lakers still have to wait for Rajon Rondo to activate his “Playoff Rondo” mode in the postseason. Alex Caruso and Quinn Cook, meanwhile, are capable backups but still have their fair share of limitations.