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Stanley Johnson Comments on Injury, Benching and More

Danny Webster@@DannyWebster21Analyst IIIApril 8, 2016

Detroit Pistons forward Stanley Johnson enters the game during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016 in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

The Detroit Pistons are one win away from clinching a playoff spot, and Stanley Johnson wants to be a part of the rotation when it happens. Β 

Detroit's 2015 first-round pick did not play in the Pistons' matchup against the Orlando Magic Wednesday and could be a coach's DNP for the second game in a row on Friday, when the Pistons take on the Washington Wizards. For someone who has never been benched due to a coach's decision in his life, Johnson is handling it well, per David Mayo of MLive:

I feel like I'm a good player. A couple bad games. But for me to get discouraged would be like selling myself short. I mean, I've played so many games in my career. I mean, I've played three bad games and the guy (head coach Stan Van Gundy) DNPs me. Am I going to kill myself over it? No. You know what I'm saying?

The biggest thing right now is I'm on a team that's one win away from being in the playoffs. I can say I contributed to that all year whether I play another second for the Pistons this year, for our team, I know I can contribute in different ways like I've contributed all year.

Johnson suffered a right shoulder sprain back in early March, and he said it still bothers him, but he has decided to power through it. He missed seven games due to it.

"Yeah, I mean, it's sore, especially on back-to-backs, it's hard to play sometimes," Johnson said, per Mayo. "But like I said before though, when I got injured, as soon as you get back on the court no one's going to feel sorry you because your shoulder's hurt. It's sort of if you're hurt, you should sit out."

It's been an up-and-down rookie season for the former eighth-overall pick of last year's NBA draft. He's averaging 8.1 points per game on 37.7 percent shooting. He's averaged 23.1 minutes per game, but he's shown some flashes of potential this year. He scored a season-high 22 points on Feb. 4 against the New York Knicks and also has a 20-point game against the Golden State Warriors.

The Pistons drafted Johnson based on upside more than immediate talent. He was an athletic wing at Arizona with potential to expand his range on his jump shot. Johnson has potential to be a great small forward for the Pistons, but sitting on the bench and working with coaches more will help in his growth and development as a player.

Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.

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