F-C Amir Johnson plays like he has a furnace of iron burning in his gut. His disposition has left something to be desired as far as the NBA is concerned, but in the immortal words of Tupac Shakur, “I ain’t mad atcha,” Amir.
He is about as close to being a perpetual energy machine as any player in the NBA. Though only a part-time starter last year, Johnson could be counted on to give his team whatever they needed, just when they needed it, and it was in abundance more often than not. Need blocks? No problem. Points in the paint? Sure. Mid-range jump shot? You betcha.
You see, Johnson’s skill set is an odd mish-mash, a veritable basketball version of a Frankenstein monster. He’s got an Antawn Jamison-esque way of shooting near the basket, a jump hook over his left shoulder that I watched him repeatedly school Serge Ibaka with during a January match versus OKC last season, and he can he can splash it from 18-to-22 feet. Did I mention he finishes strong around the rim? He also blocks shots with the best of them at 1.4 per game. In case you missed it, those are rare attributes for a single player to have.
Yet, only Johnson and perhaps 10 other players in the league has each of them. He averaged 10 points and seven rebounds per game last year, but I am certain he is their best option to start at power forward this season, and that he will easily average a double. He complements both DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay perfectly in that their deficiencies are among Johnson’s greatest strengths: Fire and passion primary among them.
Can you imagine being a point guard running the break with DeRozan, Gay and Johnson running the lanes? An embarrassment of alley-oop riches.
Ricardo A. Hazell is a freelance sports writer for Rant Sports based in New York. You may follow him on Twitter at NikosMightyDad or add him to your network on Google Plus.