Sunday, Chris Johnson was a morning person
In this case, the dream started when he awoke.
Chris Johnson got the best wake-up call of his life Sunday morning when his agent phoned him to say that the Trail Blazers were going to bring him up from the Dakota Wizards of the NBA Development League.
The Blazers, who signed the center to a 10-day contract Monday, were in desperate need of another big body since Marcus Camby went down with a knee injury last week, and figure Johnson’s 6-foot-11 can provide some much-needed length in the middle.
As for width? That’s a different story.
“I think we all, as we get older, would like a frame like that,” Blazers coach Nate McMillan said of the 210-pound Johnson. “But you take advantage of what you can do. He’s not going to be that physical presence, but he can be active — playing defense, picking and popping.”
Johnson said his role with the Blazers will be similar to what he was asked to do in Dakota, which was to be a long, defensive presence…even if he was averaging more than 17 points in the NBDL this year. He added that he’s focused on getting stronger.
And while he doesn’t plan on broaching up the subject in the locker room anytime soon, Johnson also has bragging rights over Portland’s leading scorer.
Johnson, 25, was a freshman at LSU when the Tigers beat LaMarcus Aldridge’s Texas Longhorns in the Elite Eight in 2006. Did LA remember him?
“No,” Johnson said with a laugh. “I was a bench warmer.”
Johnson added that he was a “little lost” when first introduced to the offense and isn’t sure that he’s going to play tonight. Even so, he still gets to put on an NBA jersey for the first time.
“It’s an honor, just to be part of an NBA organization,” Johnson said. “I’m like a little kid.”