LeBron James has serious compliments for Stanley Johnson after big performance in Lakers’ win

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LeBron James offered serious praise for Stanley Johnson following an impressive Jan. 17 performance against the Utah Jazz. 

With top draft players that have moved around quite a bit, it can sometimes be difficult to remember how they entered the league.

For Stanley Johnson, a 25-year-old Lakers forward who was originally drafted by the Detroit Pistons, one person wanted to remind everyone that he was drafted eighth overall in 2015: LeBron James.

“People forget that he was a top 10 pick in our league,” James said after the game. “He’s a guy who’s hungry.”

As journalist Harrison Faigen added, Johnson was a lottery pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Newly-acquired Laker Stanley Johnson scores big praise from LeBron James

Johnson is a new addition to the Lakers, having only joined the team on a 10-day contract on Dec. 24. The Lakers signed him to another 10-day contract on Jan. 6, then his third on Jan. 17. The night of his third 10-day contract signing, Johnson posted 15 points on seven out of nine field goal attempts.

Johnson, who tied with Russell Westbrook in points for the night, said he wanted to “bring some energy” in front of a hometown audience.

It seems that LeBron has taken Johnson under his wing to some extent, instructing him on how to exploit matchups through watching film.

Perhaps Johnson could have a similar path to Gary Payton Jr., who finally found a role on the Golden State Warriors earlier this season. Like Johnson, Payton Jr. spent several years among several different NBA and G-League teams before finding a role on a marquee NBA team.

At 22-22, the Lakers are on the cusp of landing in the NBA playoffs, but more 10-day contracts — or preferably, a long-term one — could allow Stanley Johnson to continue to contribute to the Lakers this season.

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