The Brooklyn Nets dealt a handful of players before the season to pair shooting guard Joe Johnson with Deron Williams but despite a few game winning shots, Johnson hasn’t quite delivered what he is capable of.
During his days with the Atlanta Hawks Johnson was a perennial 20 point per game scorer that also averaged in the area of five assists per game as well as the star of the team. Now in more of a complimentary role Johnson’s production has dipped across the board; his scoring is down to 16.4 points, assists to 3.6 per game and he is only shooting .423 from the field, well below his career percentage of .442.
And it’s not as if Johnson has played fewer minutes. In fact, Johnson has played more minutes per game this season than he has in each of the last two with the Hawks — up from 35.5 minutes the last two years to 37.2 minutes this season.
At 31 years old Johnson should still be in his prime, albeit at the end of that phase of his career. Johnson appears to be transitioning from a star or a high-paid role player, which can’t be good news to the Nets as he is owed $69.5 million over the next three seasons. Johnson does still have some value, but an average salary of $23 million per year may be a bit much for a 16-point per game scorer.
Brooklyn will need to reevaluate their roster real soon. Carrying three max contract level players could potentially derail their ability to improve their roster going forward, and if any player on the roster will need to have their contract situation revisited, Joe Johnson is the prime candidate.