If you’ve watched much of the Brooklyn Nets and Joe Johnson over the years, you know that Johnson loves him some jumpers. It’s as if going to the basket causes him some tremendous distress, as if he loses a portion of his soul each time he gets near the bucket. It’s always been this way, but we’ve been able to overlook it because he’s done other things well. Those times are gone.
Yes, Johnson did just hit a game-winner in Oklahoma City. Did you realize that he was just 4-for-11 and didn’t get to the free-throw line all game? How about the fact that he’s scored less than 10 points in four consecutive games? Or maybe the fact he takes just 25.4 percent of his shots in the restricted area? Sure, a big part of that is the fact he’s not as quick as he once was, but he’s also not plodding around out there with cement blocks for feet.
Johnson is listed at 6’8″ and about 220 pounds. When he’s got shooting guards trying to check him, he’s likely to have the advantage as it relates to size. Yet, he wants to do his best Kevin Durant impression and shoot jumpers over and over. As I mentioned earlier, Nets fans could deal with that when he was doing a decent job on the glass and as a passer. Take a look at the degradation of his numbers:
You can see his slide. We can’t be too hard on Joe, because he is what he is. We’ve known for years that he’s a guy who doesn’t like to go to the basket and because of that, he shoots a ton of jumpers and not enough free-throws. Still, as a player ages, he has to adapt his game. Is Joe adapting at all? Doesn’t seem like it. To be fair, he took 23.1 percent of his shots at the rim in 2012-13, so I guess he has raised his game a bit.
Of his 1,155 shots taken in 2012-13, he had ONE dunk. Is that even possible for a 6’8″ guard that gets as many touches as he desires? It almost seems impossible. I’d expect something like that from Steve Nash or Andre Miller. NOTE: Miller and Johnson tied in dunks in 2012-13, with one. Nash hasn’t dunked in about a decade.
Of the 58 players who have played at least 1,000 minutes this year, Johnson is No. 48 in free-throws attempted. He’s in there with the please-don’t-hack-me guys like DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond, for crying out loud. The Nets need some easy points…now where can you get those? Perhaps the free-throw line? Maybe get the other team in foul trouble? Nah, just keep taking the jumpers, win 20 games this year, get Jason Kidd fired and scoop up a cool $20 million.