The Brooklyn Nets trade for Joe Johnson has them on pace for a full year +22 win turnaround. This is absolutely historic. General Manager Billy King’s trade for Joe Johnson may turn into one of the best acquisitions of the decade.
For comparison, the Cleveland Cavaliers improved 18 games in LeBron James’ first season. The Orlando Magic won 20 more games in Shaquille O’Neal’s rookie year than the season before. The 1990 Spurs were +35 wins with rookies David Robinson and Sean Elliott.
For the Nets, Brook Lopez came back from injury to have a career year but the major difference between this year and last is Joe Johnson. He has played the 6th most minutes in the NBA (and is getting paid handsomely for his work) while scoring 17 points/game.
Johnson’s advanced stats are not overwhelming (15 PER, 50% eFG) but he has dramatically altered the offensive fabric of the Brooklyn Nets. Billy King gave up Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar and DeShawn Stevenson plus a first round pick in 2013 for JJ. It sounds like Atlanta picked up a haul but the addition of Joe Johnson has instantly improved the Nets from the 23rd best offense to 9th best in the NBA this year. So far so great.
In addition to Johnson and Lopez the Nets front office should get lots of credit for paying less than $3M for the services of Reggie Evans and Andray Blatche. Their offensive rebounding prowess and Blatche’s ability to make free throws have provided big boosts to Brooklyn as well.
Back to Johnson, the 10 minutes of each game when he is on the bench the Nets flat-out stink. Brooklyn scores 112 PTS/100 Possessions with Joe Johnson on the court compared to only 97 when he’s watching from the bench. This is literally the difference between the scoring outputs of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Washington Wizards.
According to 82games.com’s always valuable ‘On Court/Off Court’ numbers, Johnson has been worth +17 points/100 possessions. This is the best rating of all players in the NBA this season.
In order for Billy King’s trade acquisition of Joe Johnson to be considered the best of the decade he will have to lead Brooklyn to an Eastern Conference title. There is a lot of influence from Miami but besides that I don’t see any reason why the Nets can’t make a Finals run before Johnson’s contract is up in 4 years.
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