When Joe Johnson got traded to the Brooklyn Nets during this past summer everyone was expecting a back court they have not seen since the Jason Kidd and Vince Cater days. Joe Johnson is no doubt a top five shooting guard in the NBA, but it’s time he starts playing like one. With 16 games into the season a modest 15.6 PPG, a average 3.8 APG, low rebounding numbers of 2.8 RPG (comparing to his career average of 4.2 RPG).
But what has most Net fans screaming at their TV is his shooting woes. Johnson has been shooting an ice cold 40% this year from the field, while most of you might say that’s not too bad, you must have not watched him during the game. There have been six games where Joe Johnson has shot 38% from the field or worse. Out of those six games J.J. has shot 25% from the field (3-12) vs. the Knicks on November 26 only putting up 8 points and shooting 1-4 25% from the 3 point range. Then playing the Kings on November 18 Joe went 1-10 from the field at a nasty 10% and 0-3 from 3 point range only managing 10 points and 2 rebounds. On November 11 Joe had shot 23% from the field going 3-13 vs. Orlando putting up a quiet 13 points. Lastly Johnson put up 9 points two games before on November 7th vs. the heat shooting a miserable 28% from the field at (4-14).
Now I know Joe Johnson still needs to get some chemistry with the rest of the team, as well as Deron Williams. But can Joe Johnson start hitting the gym court more for shooting practice? One of a few things for the Nets to be considered a contender team in the league. Joe Johnson needs to play like the six time all-star we know he can be and at least put up career average’s (17.7 PPG, 4.4 APG, 4.2 RPG) and not to mention he has been in a shooting slump at the free throw line. Down from last years percentage of 84.9% to 78% this year, while I have to agree that is not bad, Johnson is only attempting 2.6 free throws per game.
Which brings me to my next point, can Joe Johnson start using his size more? He’s a 6’7 shooting guard and at 240 pounds he should be able to get to the rim more especially against smaller shooting guards.
In five games this season when Joe Johnson had 4 or more free throw attempts in a game he put in a average of 17 PPG in those five contests. Also the fact the J.J. is playing 37 minutes a game this season he should be scoring more. Which Joe has not averaged minutes like this the past two seasons. The last time J.J played at least 37 minutes a game was 2009-2010 season when he put up 38 minutes a game and poured in a solid 21.3 PPG that season.
Can Joe Johnson put up solid numbers again? Or is he already on the decline? I don’t want to mention to Nets fans alike that J.J. is owed $19 million plus this season and has around $68 million plus and three years left on his contract.
But lets not hit the panic button just yet.
We are only 16 games into the season and J.J. has had some note worthy games but he needs to carry that momentum and keep that flow going. The good news is the Nets are off to there best start since Jason Kidd brought them to those back to back NBA finals. But if Joe Johnson could play like were all use to seeing, is it safe to say we can taste NBA finals air again? Too soon for this year……but not for the Eastern conference air!
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Written by Michael Smith