When Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel’s reserve selections for the Eastern Conference All-Star team are announced next week, Joe Johnson’s name should be amongst them.
While Johnson’s scoring average this season currently stands at 16.1 points per game, at least two points lower than each of his six All-Star selections, there are still plenty of reasons why the big Brooklyn Nets shooting guard should be headed down to New Orleans next weekend.
For starters, Johnson has played alongside more talent this season than he has at any other point during his 14-year career. Although Deron Williams and Brook Lopez have been hampered by injuries for prolonged periods of time – with Lopez’s broken foot sidelining him for the rest of the season – Johnson has still been forced to adjust to playing alongside them, as well as Paul Pierce, for several stretches. He is only averaging 13.3 field goal attempts per game as a result which is bound to result in a decline in production.
But even with less looks, Johnson has still shown plenty flashes of brilliance in 2013-14, scoring 20-plus points in 12 games. That type of scoring ability is definitely something the fans would love to see when the best of the best get together next Sunday. And don’t forget how cold-blooded Johnson has been in the clutch once again this season. If the East has a chance to tie or win the game in the final seconds, fans will be waiting to see if Johnson can successfully put on his Superman cape even when surrounded by the game’s elite superstars.
Finally, with the Nets turning things around this month, working their way up to 19-22 and putting themselves in great position to clinch the up-for-grabs third seed in the conference, a lot of the credit has to go to Johnson. He has easily been Brooklyn’s most consistent player through all their struggles, and although he isn’t solely responsible for their new-found winning ways, he’s played a huge role in keeping them afloat.
Sounds like an All Star to me.