Wolves' Johnson gets bigger, stronger, richer

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 16, 2013 - 5:49 AM

Chris Johnson has shown up for Las Vegas Summer League play with at least 15 pounds of new muscle added on his skinny frame and a guaranteed contract.

hide

Chris Johnson averaged 3.9 points per game in 30 games with the Wolves last season.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

– A self-professed thin man his whole life, Timberwolves forward Chris Johnson has shown up for Las Vegas Summer League play with at least 15 pounds of new muscle added on his skinny frame and a contract guaranteed in full for next season.

He’s adjusting to each for the first time.

“I’ve been skinny my whole life,” he said. “I’m just trying to get used to this extra weight.”

Now at 6-11 and a whopping 230 pounds, Johnson is also adjusting to the knowledge he has $916,000 due him for this coming season after he knocked around Turkey, Poland, the NBA Development League and with three other NBA teams in the four years since he left Louisiana State.

At age 28, he now has a steady job, or at least a guaranteed payday after Wolves boss David Kahn signed the former 10-day contract signee without announcement for 2013-14 near the end of last season.

“It was quiet,” Johnson said of one of Kahn’s last official acts before he was replaced by Flip Saunders in early May. “It takes the pressure off a little bit. I can just focus on playing.”

He is focused on trying to apply that new muscle and on Monday he did as the Wolves’ starting center against a Phoenix team that started — and rode down the stretch — brothers and former lottery picks Marcus and Markieff Morris up front in the Suns’ last-second 91-89 comeback victory.

Johnson played 20½ minutes, scored three points, had seven rebounds, two blocks, three assists and six personal fouls but didn’t foul out because in summer-league you get 10.

The Suns won on Marcus Morris’ buzzer-beating shot after they trailed by 24 points on a day when Wolves summer league coach David Adelman said of the opposition, “They’ve got NBA guys and they made NBA plays in the fourth quarter.”

Johnson faced two of those NBA guys Monday, matchups to which he must adjust because he’s now one of them, too.

“They had some men out there,” Adelman said. “I thought Chris actually handled himself pretty well on the boards. It was hard because he had six fouls and I only remember two. That was tough for him. Every time he moved, they called a foul.”

Johnson, who celebrates his 28th birthday on Wednesday, played his second summer-league game with that new upper body changed by working out at Nike’s campus in Portland, Ore.

He’s getting used to those new muscles and Adelman is getting used to seeing them.

“You can see it, especially in his chest and his arms,” Adelman said. “He looks better and he needs it. I know it’s tough to put on weight with guys like that, so it shows you he’s been working on it. Chris is light in his legs, so he’s going to have issues with that. But there are also positives: He’s really springy.

“So there’s going to be issues with that, but he’s got to something on top no matter what, more so for the wear and tear of an NBA season.”

Many Timberwolves fans last season were smitten with Johnson’s bounce and shot-blocking abilities on a team that lacked such a talent. Signed along with Mickael Gelabale to two 10-day contracts in January before he was kept for the rest of the season, Johnson now will compete against first-round pick Gorgui Dieng, whom the Wolves selected 21st overall in last month’s draft partly because he has that same skill.

At that $916,000 salary Johnson is about as expendable as an NBA player gets should the Wolves decide they need an extra roster spot come October. So while he’s guaranteed that money, he knows he’s not necessarily guaranteed a job come opening night.

“Just continue to keep proving to the coaching staff that I belong here,” he said, referring to his summer and fall goals. “The main thing for me is defense. I felt like I was a little bit of a liability against bigger guys, Al Jefferson and guys like that. That limited me some for playing time. That’s why I wanted to get bigger, stronger. That’s why I did.”

  • related content

  • Wolves shift D League team to Iowa

    Monday July 15, 2013

    LAS VEGAS – The Timberwolves are switching their D League affiliate from Sioux Falls to the Iowa Energy.The Wolves haven’t...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 37 3rd Qtr
Philadelphia 48
Portland 44 2nd Qtr 0:01
Cleveland 54
Sacramento 22 2nd Qtr
Toronto 26
Boston 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Dallas 7:00 PM
Houston
Denver 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Brooklyn 7:00 PM
Atlanta
Oklahoma City 7:00 PM
New York
Charlotte 7:30 PM
San Antonio
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
Utah
Washington 9:30 PM
Phoenix
Toronto 0 1st Prd 7:00
New Jersey 0
Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
Washington
Chicago 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Temple 37 2nd Half
UCF 18
Winthrop 35 2nd Half
Coastal Carolina 34
Lafayette 25 2nd Half
Colgate 32
Northeastern 33 2nd Half 16:50
Drexel 30
Wake Forest 33 2nd Half
Florida State 27
Rhode Island 31 2nd Half
Fordham 32
Delaware 42 2nd Half 17:12
James Madison 50
South Carolina 28 2nd Half
LSU 29
New Hampshire 23 2nd Half
Maine 20
Seton Hall 42 2nd Half 17:39
Marquette 30
Binghamton 30 2nd Half
UMBC 24
American Univ 34 2nd Half
Navy 37
Elon 23 2nd Half
UNC-Wilmington 47
Wright State 33 2nd Half 20:00
Oakland 28
Minnesota 23 2nd Half 20:00
Penn State 33
Duquesne 27 2nd Half
Richmond 49
SMU 32 2nd Half 18:37
South Florida 26
Hartford 28 2nd Half 18:55
Stony Brook 27
Albany 25 2nd Half
Vermont 17
Hofstra 34 2nd Half
William & Mary 54
UNC-Asheville 37 2nd Half
Longwood 31
Radford 24 1st Half 9:30
Char Southern 14
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 24 1st Half 5:27
Notre Dame 28
Texas Tech 11 1st Half 4:49
Oklahoma 22
Oregon State 4 1st Half 18:34
Arizona State 0
Morehead State 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Drake 7:00 PM
Bradley
Lehigh 7:00 PM
Bucknell
Rice 7:00 PM
Houston
Missouri State 7:00 PM
Illinois State
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Wichita State
Nebraska Omaha 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
Northern Iowa 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
Louisville 8:00 PM
Boston College
St Johns 8:00 PM
Creighton
East Carolina 8:00 PM
Memphis
Georgia Tech 8:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Miss State 8:00 PM
Ole Miss
Clemson 8:00 PM
NC State
Indiana 8:00 PM
Purdue
Kansas 8:00 PM
TCU
Oregon 9:00 PM
Arizona
Air Force 9:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 10:00 PM
Washington
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 34 2nd Half 19:17
Binghamton 31
Akron 23 2nd Half 19:34
Ohio U 32
Ball State 44 2nd Half 20:00
Miami-Ohio 17
Memphis 31 2nd Half 17:52
Cincinnati 22
East Carolina 18 2nd Half
(2) Connecticut 47
Murray State 31 2nd Half 20:00
Eastern Illinois 33
Kent State 26 2nd Half 20:00
Central Michigan 35
UT Martin 44 2nd Half 16:08
Tennessee St 32
Eastern Michigan 33 2nd Half
Western Mich 42
Bucknell 35 2nd Half 19:18
Lehigh 34
Indiana 28 2nd Half 19:18
Michigan State 40
Colgate 44 2nd Half 18:02
Lafayette 24
Fordham 39 2nd Half 17:01
Davidson 28
Duquesne 32 2nd Half
St Bonaventure 24
George Mason 28 2nd Half
VA Commonwealth 34
Detroit 27 2nd Half 15:52
Youngstown St 35
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
SMU 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Oklahoma St 7:00 PM
Kansas State
West Virginia 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Denver 7:00 PM
South Dakota
Northwestern St 7:00 PM
Central Arkansas
Kansas 7:00 PM
Iowa State
Bowling Green 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Penn State 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Austin Peay 0 1st Half 19:04
SIU-Edwardsville 5
San Jose St 8:00 PM
Air Force
Boise State 8:00 PM
Colorado State
Utah State 8:00 PM
Wyoming
San Diego State 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Nevada 9:00 PM
UNLV

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What chance does the Wild have of making the playoffs?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close