We got great win last night and almost all of Netsdaily fans were rejoicing but there were still a couple of fans who were sour regarding Joe Johnson's play especially because it seemed like he was breaking out of his funk. If you look at his season statistically he's playing bad. Shooting less than 40% from the field but a decent 36% from three. But he is doing other things that are being overlooked. The most important of those is his defense and his ability to draw double teams.
Joe Johnson is bringing something to the table I didn't think he would especially at this stage in his career. And I'm from North Little Rock right across the river from Joes hometown. So I've followed him for a while now. But he has played some lockdown defense this season. I first notices it the Cleveland game in which he held Waiters who averages 15, to 8 points on 3/16 shooting. Joe used his size and was able to bully Waiters from getting to spots he liked. He wasn't known for his defense in Atlanta and actually was supposed to be a liability in that department. But he has started to focus more on that since his shot isn't falling. Watching the game last night he put the clamps on JR especially in Iso situations without any help. Opposing Matchups are averaging 16 ppg versus Joe and while thats not great he has shut down a couple of high scorers in this run. Crawford can be added to that list. That isn't aan easy task especially with Smith and Crawford who have been playing terrific this season. Joe as shown an ability to move his feet and keep up with opposing guards.
The other thing that he brings that isn't getting noticed is his ability to draw double teams. Almost every time Joe posted last might he got doubled and made the right play. All of Stacks threes were assists from Joe. One thing that doesn't show up in the stat box is the hockey assists he gets. He creates ball movement when a defender helps and when he kicks it out it gives Deron a chance to drive the ball and create an open shot. He is a threat on offense and we have seen what can happen if the defense doesn't focus on him (Cleveland, Boston, Portland). Joe is the reason Deron is able to get in the lane so easy and why Brook is able to play one on one or be the recipient of great passes. Joe keeps the offense fluid and is another threat the defense worries about.
I understand to all the detractors that he isn't living up to what we pay but he never was. Hell only Kobe and Lebron could and a handful of others. His efficiency will return to close to normal and he won't shoot 40% for the season as most of his misses are close. He is shooting well firm deep and I only think it will get better. He's also provided the clutch play we all thought he would when he came over. He iced the Cleveland, Celtics, and hit a huge three in the Clipper and Portland games. As far as his shooting slump he will take longer to get out of it since he isn't the 1 or 2 option. He's shooting 2 less shots a game and he is just now getting into good shape. Once he gets going we will become even more difficult to beat.