“I got to see the sacrifices that those guys go through,” Johnson said. “I learned what it takes to get there. Boston was a good team to be a part of. It was a great locker room. I definitely will miss that part.
“The year of learning from Kevin Garnett are things I will take with me for the rest of my life … just being around a good teammate and learning from a guy like him. It was great being around him every day and practicing against him. That’s going to be valuable throughout my whole career.”
JaJuan Johnson Courtesy Of The Lafayette Journal & Courier
Solid NBA careers most time need to begin with a foundation of excellence set forth from another player, a coach, an organization, or if one is truly lucky all three spots. Former Boston Celtics first round pick and now possibly starting power forward on the Houston Rockets JaJuan Johnson was lucky that he had a solid start to his NBA career in terms of a tremendous learning experience in Boston. In a recent interview he looked back on his time in Boston and the lessons learned during his rookie season. The quotes above tell me that much like Avery Bradley did his rookie year, Johnson made the most of his time with this organization despite not seeing much action. The fact that even as a young man he took the time to learn these lessons is why Johnson will have a solid NBA career.
The foundation was laid and clearly Johnson learned during his time with the Boston Celtics. Johnson saw what it takes to win and have the heart of a champion. He saw the sacrifices that need to be made. He saw the price that these men paid in the gym and during practice. Johnson found out how important chemistry is to a winner.
The biggest key for Johnson was he learned from one Kevin Garnett. Garnett and Johnson going at it in practice every day for a season is just so invaluable. Unlike guys like Patrick O’Bryant and Mikki Moore that KG clearly thought was useless and thus did not waste his time with them, he talked a lot to the young Johnson. Johnson wisely listened. He picked KG’s brain about defense and moving without the ball to get to the open spot for his shot. He worked with KG in the post to learn more moves. The fact KG rubbed off Johnson means Johnson is primed for a breakout sooner than later.
Johnson may not have developed as fast as Boston liked, was clearly not better than this year’s rookie Jared Sullinger, and Boston needed to part with some talent for Courtney Lee are the perhaps why Johnson is no longer a Celtic. However, just because he no longer wears green does not mean that he will not become a great player for an NBA team. In fact the extra playing time should help him grow as a player. The fact is in Boston playing time was not going to happen with this veteran core going for one more title run together minus Judas…oops Ray Allen.
Who knows perhaps like Avery Bradley last year, Johnson will all of a sudden just have a switch in him click on and become a beast. People forget Bradley struggled early in the year and then all of a sudden was given a chance again to play and then seized the moment with tremendous play. The talent, work ethic, and training are there in him so it is very possible that Johnson busts out. If he does then one will only have to look at his early times in Boston as a big reason why he became a solid NBA player. Remember Go Green Or Go Home!!!!!!!