Mike Mazzeo interviewed Joe Johnson, the man who was the Nets MVP last season, particularly in the playoffs when he averaged 21.2 points, shot 53 percent overall and 41 percent from deep. His 34-point effort in the season's final game vs. Heat gave promise to this season.
He is, as advertised, "Joe Cool." "I never get too high and I never get too low. "
"Joe Cool" in fact is a name he prefers over the one Kevin Garnett gave him --and the one that is catching on, at least among teammates, "Joe Jesus." KG explained his rationale last year, saying of Johnson, "He might not be there when you call on him, but he’s there when you need him."
"It is what it is," said Johnson. "I don’t look forward to anybody calling me that. It’s just at this moment or point in time it kinda is what it is. It’s just KG and he does it from time-to-time. It’s not an everyday thing."
As for his most famed attribute, his ability to hit big game shots, he says he's always been relied upon to do. With the Nets, he said, it started n the Detroit double-overtime win back in December 2012.
"We had momentum going into that game," Johnson told Mazzeo. "I think I made the shots to get us into overtime and Coach Avery [Johnson] was just like, 'All right, we’re just gonna keep going to you,' and he just kept coming to me. It came down to the last play of the game, and he came to me. And from that point on, it was just if it comes down to the end of the game, we’re gonna see if he can keep doing that."
Johnson also talked about the end of his career. He's now 33. His current contract runs out when he's 35.
"Honestly, I don’t even like imagining it. But it’s coming. It’s approaching, and I understand that and I’m fine with it. I’m gonna give them everything I got. "
He wants to win a championship, he says, and thinks this year's club has a chance. Like Deron Williams, he likes that people think the team is done.
"We don’t have a lot of attention on us, which I think honestly it’s great," he told Mazzeo. "The first year, it was all about the Nets going to Brooklyn, so we had so much attention on us. Then, the second year, we got Paul and KG, so now we’re this championship team and now it’s like, 'All right, the Nets are done. It’s over with.' We’ll be quiet and just play basketball the right way, have fun and I think we’re gonna have great results."
Joe Johnson on 'Joe Jesus,' Nets' future - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York