The first seven times Joe Johnson tried to win a game for the Brooklyn Nets, he succeeded. He was 7-of-7 on shots when the score was tied, or the Nets trailed by less than four points with fewer than 10 seconds remaining. It earned him the nickname Joe Jesus. He was arguably the best clutch shooter in the NBA.
But he's no longer the go-to guy in crunchtime. Lionel Hollins has now given that role to Jarrett Jack, and it's worked. He's won two games, vs. the Clippers and Warriors, in the last couple of seconds. He missed against the Suns and the Nets went into overtime where they lost.
What's going on here? It be simple math, or analtyics. Hollins doesn't have a reputation for letting deep stats drive his decisions, but in this case, he apparently has. Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game points out that
In the last four minutes of games within five points, the Nets have been outscored by 55 points with Johnson on the floor, the worst raw plus-minus in the NBA in that situation. He’s shot just 15-for-49 in those moments, well below the league average. Worse yet, with under 30 seconds left and the game within three points, Johnson has missed all five of his attempts this season. In the same situation, Jack has made six of eight shots, with all of those makes coming from at least sixteen feet out.
What makes those numbers even more troubling is that Johnson seems to be wearing down. He lost more than 20 pounds coming into the season to give him more quickness. But with Hollins small ball game, Johnson is playing power forward. He could use those 20 extra pounds. As he notes, injuries happen and he's been called on to fill Mirza Teletovic's role. It's a heavy toll as Rod Boone notes...
Fighting through tendinitis in his right knee and left ankle, Johnson simply hasn't been his usual go-to self this season. He's logged 36,546 minutes in 956 games since 2003-04 -- a number second only to LeBron James' 41,916 in 1,053 games -- and it's a challenge to keep himself completely refreshed.
And the numbers show it. In the last three games, Johnson is averaging 6.0 points while shooting 33.3 percent overall and 14.3 percent from three. Nets can't win with Johnson playing like that.
- Joe Johnson No Longer Nets Crunch-Time Leader - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Joe Johnson puzzled about why he was on bench in final moments of Nets' loss on Friday - Newsday - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Nets: Lionel Hollins defends decision - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Jarrett Jack is Nets' new go-to guy in clutch - Mitch Abramson - New York Daily News
- Why Joe Johnson is no longer the Nets’ last-shot specialist - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Nets rewind: Who should Hollins have played with 14 seconds left? - Tim Bontemps - New York Post