Today Ivan Carter gave word that the Wizards have signed DerMarr Johnson, Linton Johnson, and Taj MacCullough for this year's training camp. All three players play primarily at small forward, so if you see Dominic McGuire sweating juuust a little more than normal, you'll know why. But enough about that, let's talk about the new guys.
DerMarr Johnson - Antonio Daniels (4th in 1997) and Antawn Jamison (4th in 1998) are the only two Wizards that were drafted higher in their respective drafts than DerMarr (6th in 2000). At first, it might look like he's just another bust from a draft that was full of busts, but I'm more than willing to give him a pass on the bust label.
After his second season in the NBA, he broke his neck in a severe car accident. Understandably, most thought he would never play again, but he overcame the odds, making it back to the NBA in the 03-04 season, joining with the Knicks. After that season, he joined the Nuggets where he would play for 3 seasons, putting up respectable numbers in his time in the Mile High City.
At the end of his third season in Denver, he was arrested by Denver police after being involved in a disturbance at a nightclub. You might find this detail interesting:
Greenwood Village police said Johnson, 27, was charged with resisting arrest and interfering with a peace officer after the 1:30 a.m. incident. He was also "touched briefly with a Taser to gain his compliance with the officer's orders," police said.
Is that a pre-cursor of things to come? We'll see.
After that incident, he went on to sign with the Austin Toros of the D-League, before being called up by the Spurs late in the season. He appeared in 5 games with San Antonio last season averaging 3.4 PPG in 5.4 minutes of playing time per game. In June, he was arrested on DWI charge.
Linton Johnson - When you look up the word journeyman in the dictionary, you'll probably find Linton Johnson's picture somewhere close by. Here are the teams that he's played with since 2002.
- Tulane Green Wave
- Chicago Bulls
- Rockford Lightning
- Chicago Bulls (again)
- San Antonio Spurs
- New Jersey Nets
- Tau Ceramica
- Phoenix Suns
- Toronto Raptors
- ...and as of today, the Washington Wizards
To stick with your dream is commendable and it would be a great story if he could make the team this season. Maybe if he does, Gilbert will finally learn Linton's last name.
Taj McCullough - If he sounds familiar, it's probably because he was a member of this year's summer league squad. His 2 point, 2 rebound per game average during the Summer League earned him the analysis of "Barely noticed him." in Prada's 10 words or less recap.
You may also remember that it was another small forward from this year's Summer League squad, Gary Forbes, who was originally rumored as someone that might get a look in training camp but he played himself out of that chance based on his performance in Vegas.
To be honest, I was a bit surprised to see his name on this list, but none of us got to see him at practice. Sometimes showing off an impressive work ethic in practice can be enough to get you a training camp invite just to help everyone else out during camp, even if he has no shot to make the team. That could be the case here, or maybe they see as someone who can fit into a very specific role on the team.
This, and many other questions will begin to be answered this Saturday as the Wizards open up training camp. It should be an interesting week at VCU, to say the least.