Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK –– The Nets are likely to take Syracuse small forward Wesley Johnson with the No. 3 pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, a source with knowledge said.
“Yes,” the source said.
Asked if it was definite, the source said, “Nothing is certain.”
The Nets are also considering Georgia Tech power forward Derrick Favors and Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins, both of whom worked out Monday.
But sources said Favors’ was not overly impressive in his workout. Cousins is viewed as a center and the Nets already have Brook Lopez.
“It would be good to land anywhere,” Johnson said Wednesday in New York. “But the Nets [are] closer to Syracuse and we grew a fan base here, so I think that would be good.”
Asked what his agent, Rob Pelinka, told him about New Jersey’s level of interest, Johnson said: “He told me it was high and he told me Minnesota was high as well, so it’s really kind of hard to say…So we’ll just have to wait and see.”
If the Nets do draft Johnson, they would still need a power forward and are reportedly interested in Utah’s Carlos Boozer or Toronto’s Chris Bosh, both of whom are free agents.
The 6-foot-7, 205-pound Johnson, who averaged 16.5 points and was named Big East player of the year at Syracuse, said he could fit in with Lopez and their wing players.
“New Jersey, they got a solid big man with Brook down there and the guys they have on the wing with Terrence [Williams] and Devin [Harris] and all those guys,” Johnson said. “I think I could mesh with any team. I adapt real fast and stuff so I think I would be fine with them.”
If Johnson doesn’t go at No. 3 to the Nets, he would be happy to go No. 4 to Minnesota and play with former Syracuse teammate Jonny Flynn .
“When he was at Syracuse we talked about it a lot and especially now it might be a reality I might be with him,” Johnson said. “I think it would be good, us finally getting to play with each other.”
Just a few years ago, before transferring to Syracuse, Johnson was a virtual unknown at Iowa State.
He said he didn’t quite fully grasp his current situation until he walked into the Westin Hotel at Times Square for the NBA media session.
“When I first walked into the lobby door, it really did hit me, like, ‘Yeah, it’s here,'” Johnson said. “It’s really here.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.