Joe Johnson in "role player phase of his decline," says ESPN

Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

There were two "developments" Friday that reminded us that Joe Johnson, last summer's big off-season acquisition, is still with the team. The Hawks released DeShawn Stevenson. Of the five players the Nets sent the Hawks, he was the last one on the Atlanta roster. For the record, Jordan Farmar and Jordan Williams were bought out (at a cost of $2.2 million); Anthony Morrow was traded to Dallas and Johan Petro's contract expired. The first round pick the Hawks received was used in a trade to acquire Lucas Nogueira, who was stashed in Europe. The Nets still owe Atlanta a second rounder in 2017.

Meanwhile, Bradford Doolittle of ESPN, using the WARP metric (Wins Above Replacement Player), consigned Johnson to role player status after ranking him the 17th best shooting guard in the NBA. Big deal if true considering the Nets owe him nearly $70 million.

Doolittle writes...

"We've long warned about the perils of age 32 when it comes to shooting guards, and Johnson hit that age just after the Finals ended. His value dropped like a stone last season, with a winning percentage that dipped from .564 to .443. With so many alpha-personality players to share possessions with in Brooklyn's new lineup, Johnson has entered the role-player phase of his decline" (Doolittle ranked soon-to-be 32-year-old Dwyane Wade as the top shooting guard.)

Johnson did have his worst year in a while, averaging 16.3 points and shooting 42.3 percent overall and 37.5 percent from deep. He was the league's top clutch player, however. In the last minute of the fourth quarter or overtime, with the game on the line (within three points), Johnson was 9-of-10 in the regular season.But Jason Kidd has vowed to get him back into the role he played in Atlanta, more than just a spot up shooter.

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