The first move the Brooklyn Nets made in free agency was trading for one of the best shooting guards in the NBA, Joe Johnson, who is a proven scorer with veteran experience and a huge contract. The consensus in the league was that his contract was an albatross and could never be moved, as the 31 year old had four years left with almost $90 million remaining. That did not stop the Nets Russian owner from pulling the trigger on the five time all-star, no matter the cost.
The move was done for two reasons; the first was being able to entice Deron Williams to re-sign with the Nets and create the best backcourt in the league and the second was to provide scoring and leadership to a team that was starving for both.
“That’s what makes this team special,” Johnson said. “You’ve got guys like myself, Deron , Brook Lopez, we can have great games, but we have guys on the bench who’ve started and played big minutes in this league and are good players in this league, so they’re able to be productive for us and even win a game for us.”
Johnson’s tenure in Brooklyn, albeit a limited sample size, has been inconsistent to say the least and almost all of his numbers are way down but Johnson isn’t looking at individual stats with this team. He is averaging 15.3 points per game through the first eight games, which is slightly off his career average of 17.7 points per game. His shooting percentage is the one that is shocking, as he is only shooting 36% from the field from two point range and a 35% from downtown.
“It’s going to come for me. It just takes time. I just need to get acclimated with everybody, and I think things will come. Right now it’s early, we’ve only played a few games. We just have a lot of room for improvement,” Johnson said. “I’m getting there. I just thought (Friday) night I miss a lot of shots I normally make but I’m still learning Deron’s sweet spots on the court, the things he likes to do, the places he likes to catch the ball.”
Johnson has never been one to shy away from the big moments or big shots at the end of games and he has been key in at least three games so far for the Nets in the fourth quarter to help put teams away for good, whether it be from the foul line or hitting the dagger shot. Johnson always wants the big shot and he knows what he is looking for in crunch time.
“It’s how your body language is, your confidence. You can tell just by looking at a person, and it’s more in your approach and your body language when you hit the court. You have to know, you have to understand that you’re better than the guy that’s guarding you.” Johnson said.
The biggest thing that Johnson is concerned with right now is helping the Nets find their swagger and start to know they can win every game rather than hoping to win like they have in the past.
Johnson will be just fine Nets fans, so don’t worry about stats and just look at the win/loss column as that is all Johnson looks at and that is all that matters in this league.
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