Joe Johnson Still Best Clutch Option For Brooklyn Nets

By Mike B. Ruiz
Joe Camporeale-USA Today Sports

When the Brooklyn Nets agreed to the mega deal with the Boston Celtics that landed them Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry, the same question kept popping up over and over.

How will Garnett and Pierce mesh in a starting lineup that already had multiple-time All Stars Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, as well as Brook Lopez, who was a first-time All Star last season?

That question was inevitably going to be asked, and we’ll know the answer once the season gets underway in the fall.

But what about another question I’ve yet to hear anyone ask?

Who has the ball in his hands in those final few minutes when the score is air tight and the game is on the line? Who’s going to be that one perimeter player that demands the ball and gets that crucial bucket with a defender draped all over him?

That’s yet another question that we won’t have the answer to until the Nets find themselves in one of those late-game situations, but if I had to take my pick on who it’s going to be, I wouldn’t bet my money on Pierce, even though that’s the role he flat-out mastered in Boston for over a decade.

Williams isn’t my guess either. Fancy crossover, dependable jumper and all, but those weren’t his moments to shine even last season when Pierce and Garnett were still rivals in Celtic green.

Instead, it was always Johnson who wanted to be “The Guy,” and he rarely disappointed. With multiple game-winners and other late baskets, Johnson established himself as Brooklyn’s most clutch player.

A younger Pierce would have been able to slide into that role this upcoming season, but his first step and jumpshot don’t compare to Johnson’s at this age. Brooklyn would be better off sticking with last season’s late-game formula.

I’m sure they wouldn’t mind getting those same results.

Mike B. Ruiz is a Brooklyn Nets writer for Follow him on Twitter @mikebruiz and “Like” him on Facebook.

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