Los Angeles Clippers coach Roy Halladay Rivers said that both Wesley Johnson and Paul Pierce could find themselves in the starting lineup at small forward at various points this season, Janis Carr of the Orange County Register reports.
"I think it's going to be one of those things where it changes from night to night," Rivers said. "There will be nights when Wes starts, nights when Paul starts. I think we're versatile enough to be able to do that."
Rivers noted that the two main factors that would determine which player gets the starting nod on a given night would be "matchups and Paul's age," with the latter reason seemingly indicating that Johnson could enter the lineup at least once during back-to-back sets. Johnson, who started 59 games with the Los Angeles Lakers last season, isn't expected to come close to reaching the 29.5 minutes he averaged in 2014-15, but he should be a useful role player for his new squad. That said, his value is expected to be limited more to daily formats than season-long leagues, as Pierce's availability (or lack thereof) will result in wide variation in his minutes.
His contract is for one year at the veteran's minimum, per the Los Angeles Daily News.
Johnson in the process leaves the cross-town Lakers, with whom he averaged a career-best 9.9 points in 30 minutes per game last year while shooting 41.4 percent from the floor.
Hill averaged 12.0 points and 7.9 rebounds last season, but appeared to grow weaker as the season went on, unable to grab a bigger role for a team with plenty of minutes to go around.
"The first month, I was showing the energy," Hill said. "But it was the first time having all these minutes on my hands. I started feeling myself going down and feeling fatigued. It wasn't something I was used to."
Johnson, who averaged 9.9 points and showed a willingness to play different positions, has been too inconsistent for Lakers' brass to make a full commitment.
Although Johnson said he was disappointed in the season, he wants to remain with the Lakers next season.
"Definitely things haven't gone like anybody wanted it to," he said. "But I definitely don't want to leave."
During the offseason, Johnson said he his primary focus will be to improve his ballhandling, reports the team's official website.
Clarkson suffered his ankle injury during Monday's contest, while Johnson missed Monday's game after sustaining an ankle injury in Sunday's game. Guards Jabari Brown and Vander Blue will start as a result of the absences, the team announced.
The Lakers are 3 1/2-point favorites.
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