It would be foolish to deny the fact that the Brooklyn Nets are going to be a much improved team in the 2013-2014 NBA season in comparison to their run this past year. With the additions of impact players like Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko to an already talented core, the Nets have a chance to make enormous waves in the Eastern Conference.
One of the things that is integral to their success in the upcoming season, though, is that their core from last season comprised of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson perform well in the upcoming season and help carry this team. While Williams and Lopez need to remain consistent from where they were last year, Johnson actually needs to show a bit of improvement.
Johnson came over to the Nets last summer via a trade with the Atlanta Hawks. In his first season with the Nets he played in 72 games and averaged 16.3 points, 5.5 assists and three rebounds in 36.7 minutes per game, but shot only 42.3 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three. His field goal percentage was lower than in any of his seasons with the Hawks.
Johnson saw a decline in his overall numbers from when he was in Atlanta, but that’s largely because of his role in the offense. His usage rate dropped from 23 percent in the 2011-2012 season with the Hawks to 20.8 percent in his first season with Brooklyn.
What the usage rate doesn’t account for is his inefficient scoring. Though he shot a bit above his career averaged from long-range last season, Johnson’s field goal percentage last year was 1.9 percent lower than his career mark of 44.2 percent. That’s something that Johnson has to work on coming into this season.
Johnson is obviously not going to be the go-to guy on this Nets team, but they do need his versatile scoring and shooting ability if they want to be successful. This team will be one that has a lot better spacing than they did last season, which should result in better looks for Johnson. If the Nets want to reach the levels that the plan to, Johnson has to be able to knock those looks down at an efficient rate.