Timberwolves' James Johnson: Gets defensive in starting role

Johnson registered five points (2-8 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 0-2 FT), five rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals across 32 minutes Wednesday in the Timberwolves' 115-108 loss to the Hornets.

Filling in as the starting center in place of the injured Karl-Anthony Towns (wrist), Johnson couldn't come close to matching the superstar as a scorer or rebounder, but he otherwise proved to be a quality replacement option largely thanks to what he did in the defensive categories. Johnson has shown the ability to make an impact in those areas when given big minutes in the past -- he averaged 1.1 blocks and 1.0 steal in 76 games with Miami in 2016-17 -- so he could be an attractive player to stash in the event Towns misses additional time with the injury following the All-Star break. If Towns is good to go when Minnesota opens the second half, Johnson will likely be looking at a minutes split at power forward with Juancho Hernangomez.

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