October 4, 2012: Day 3 of training camp at UC San Diego
LA JOLLA, Calif. — Wesley Johnson would prefer you call him “Wes”.
He’s earned that request after the team’s last two scrimmage sessions.
The third-year forward out of Syracuse, whom the Suns aquired from Minnesota in the three-team deal involving Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick, followed up his quality effort Wednesday night with an even more impressive performance Thursday morning.
Johnson scored 15 points in his team’s two victories, including all ten points in a win over a group that looked very similiar to the unit that’s expected to start the season opener on October 31.
Johnson nailed a pair of three-pointers followed up by two straight jumpers to help team white (Kendall Marshall, Shannon Brown, Johnson, Luke Zeller and Markieff Morris) defeat team black (Sebastian Telfair, Jared Dudley, Michael Beasley, Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat), 10-6.
“He’s playing with more confidence and we have confidence in him,” head coach Alvin Gentry said. “I had to stop him today and say, ‘Hey, that shot right there we want you to shoot. If you shoot it 20 times, you shoot it 20 times.’
“He’ll make the transition. It was easy — once we told Shannon Brown that, we didn’t have a problem anymore.”
After five practices, Gentry said no one has jumped out to him “where you say, ‘WOW!,'” but at the same time no one has disappointed either.
“It’s just been pretty consistent stuff which is good, I think, on our part,” he said. “We’re starting to execute a little better. It’s a process so as long as we’re getting a little bit better everyday, I’m fine with that. That’s a positive. We haven’t taken any steps backwards so that’s a good thing.”
Gentry rewarded his team’s effort by calling off the night session, avoiding a third straight two-a-day.
“We just got to be smart,” he said. “They’re pretty banged up and sore.”
The Suns will practice twice more Friday before ending camp Saturday with a scrimmage, which is closed to the public.
Goran Dragic will sit out the scrimmage as he recovers from an ankle sprain he suffered before camp started.
“He’s feeling a little better,” Gentry said, “but he’s not going to do anything — he may do a few drills or something like that [Friday], but there’s no chance that he’s going to play in the scrimmage Saturday.”