Orlando Johnson‘s rookie season has been a very quiet one for the Indiana Pacers. He hasn’t had that many court minutes to be a factor, but he does some impressive things with the ball when he gets his chance.
The rookie from California, Santa Barbara was inserted into the Pacer lineup Tuesday night in an easy 95-73 victory over the Orlando Magic. Obviously, the nature of the win allowed the Pacers to take a closer look at Johnson, who showed promise in one area: ball handling. He dished off five assists to spark the Pacer offense.
Johnson is averaging four points and 2.1 rebounds a game. Prior to facing Orlando, he played 21 minutes apiece in both of the Pacers’ last two games. He was 3-of-6 in shooting from the floor and had eight points against the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the same amount of playing minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers, he was 2-for-4 for five points.
Johnson has only had two games this season in which he scored in double figures. One of those came in late February in his team’s 114-82 whipping over the Detroit Pistons. He played for 23 minutes, and was 5-of-5 from the floor and 3-of-3 in triples. Ironically, he had an off night in free throw shooting by going 1-0f-3.
Johnson netted 23 minutes of playing time in that game and continues to get limited time by the Pacers. It’s obvious that with the talent the Pacers have, Johnson won’t crack into the lineup very extensively. He’s likely to be traded or waived at the end of the NBA season, but a team that needs to get 20 minutes or so from a guard should take a close look at Johnson.