Monday, June 28, 2010
Lewis, Johnson latch on to summer league teams
By Pedro Moura
Former Trojan guards Dwight Lewis and Marcus Johnson weren't selected in week's NBA draft, but both players have managed to find a temporary home for summer league play.
Johnson, who averaged just under 10 points a game in his second season with USC in 2009-2010, will play for the Phoenix Suns in the NBA's Las Vegas Summer League next month, according to an Arizona Republic report.
Johnson shot under 40 percent from the field last season and under 30 percent from 3-point range, but his fast-paced style of play seems to be a good fit for the Suns' backcourt. Still, his ability to provide solid defense, which came only in flashes for the Trojans, will be the key to his future with the team.
"They're not going to come and get him for the way his dribbles, his scoring ability or his dunking,'' USC coach Kevin O'Neill told our Ramona Shelburne for a February story on Johnson's penchant for slams. "For Marcus to make it in the NBA, he has to get a reputation as a lockdown defender, [an] athletic guy that can guard multiple positions. Which I think he can do.''
Lewis, meanwhile, already has a reputation as a balanced, all-around player — one capable of many skills but dominant in little. And, in the days after the draft, he was unable to find a team to commit to him for the summer. Instead, he'll be auditioning for both the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets this week among select other ex-college players, according to various media reports. Dallas' summer league mini-camp takes place today and tomorrow.
Summer league play begins July 9 at COX Pavilion in Las Vegas. If Lewis were to make the Rockets' squad, the two ex-Trojans would go head-to-head on opening day.