Defending Joe Johnson: Mike Fratello thinks Atlanta Hawks worse for trading JJ

Alex Trautwig

With the Nets down by 12 in the third quarter Friday night, Joe Johnson took it on himself to take over Brooklyn's offensive needs, scoring nine straight. There were some "Iso-Joe" moments ... and Mike Fratello thinks that's not a bad thing.

Fratello thinks the Nets are better off with Joe Johnson. He's said so on YES. And on NBA TV, the former Hawk coach thinks his old team is worse off, defending Johnson as the engine that made Atlanta go, the player primarily responsible for the Hawks five year run of playoff teams. Fratello make his comments in NBA TV's season preview of the Hawks, but his comments on JJ are as valuable for the Nets.

You know the old thing: watch what you wish for. Remember, the season before Joe Johnson arrived in Atlanta, the Hawks won 13 games. He comes, they double the total to 26. Then, there was a steady progression the last five years - in the playoffs, they topped out at 53 wins in one of those seasons. And if there was a complaint, it was that the ball stopped in Joe Johnson's hands. There was too much isolation. You know, people would talk basketball talk that really didn't understand what the NBA is about. So they wanted to see movement and all this, motion offense...

And now, all of a sudden, Joe Johnson is gone. So who is going to step up now and take the leadership role. At the end of the game, when the ball kept going to Joe Johnson, to make big shots, to win a game for them, who's gonna get the ball now and will they produce the way Joe Johnson did.

Brevin Knight agrees with Fratello.

He made it easier for everybody else to play their position because if things went wrong, they just said, 'give the ball to Joe' and he makes it happen for that team. Who's that guy who does it for them now?

  • Trading Joe Johnson (Video) - Rick Kamla with Mike Fratello & Brevin Knight - NBA.com
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