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2014-2015 Brooklyn Nets Player Review: Joe Johnson

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Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Johnson has been one of the few consistent parts of the Nets franchise since the team's move to Brooklyn. He has rarely sat out, always played his role, and made big play after big play for the club. In 2014-2015, Johnson took a step back, his age has seemed to catch up to him at nearly 34. He was still a productive player for the Nets even though his scoring average was the lowest since he was 21, his second year in the league.

Johnson's scoring numbers continued to trend downward. He averaged more than a point less per game this season than last and his three-point shot was very shaky, making 35% this past season after shooting 40% in 2013-14 However, Johnson's presence was still felt in Brooklyn, still counted on to make plays late (Jarrett Jack took some late-game heroics away from Joe).

It wasn't flashy, but it was solid.

STATS

2014-2015

Joe Johnson

Games Played

80

Minutes per game

34.9

True Shooting percentage

52.3

Assist rate

19.1

Turnover rate

8.9

Usage rate

20.5

Rebound rate

7.9

PER

14.1

Win Shares per 48

.070

Johnson may have taken some steps back in his offensive game while other facets of his game improved. He didn't score as much and wasn't the team's first option anymore There was more motion in the offense so the team steered away from "Iso-Joe" more often than not. However, when Johnson got it in the post, he had a keen eye for finding open teammates on the opposite wing or Brook Lopez in the post. Johnson was also a better rebounder than in prior years. He is a big small forward and did a fine job cleaning the glass for a player not previously known to fight for boards, nearly posting a career high in rebounds.

He also became more a team leader after the departure of Kevin Garnett, Lionel Hollins has said, more so in fact than he had ever been.

He's remains durable, playing more minutes in 2014-15 than he had in five years. In fact, he has played more minutes (regular season and playoffs) than anyone in the league not named LeBron James. That's a ton of minutes for a guy getting up there in age. The wear and tear on Johnson's body has been obvious as he has been more used as a spot-up threat rather than being ran off of screens for open looks. He played about 35 minutes per game this season, but was clearly gassed by the end of the year.

SALARY SITUATION

Johnson is owed nearly $24.9 million next season, the last year of a six-year $123 million deal signed in 2010. The Nets, trying to get under the luxury tax can get closer to the threshold by moving Johnson and his monster expiring contract, but would there be any takers? Detroit was mentioned at the deadline as a possible destination, but who knows if they are still interested.

Johnson is a valuable member of the team, and his contract is relevant only for a team's cap calculations. He is going to come off the books when the cap is going to spike up so he doesn't hurt a team's long-term prospects. Johnson is a pro's pro, who works as hard as anyone and plays through nearly anything. People look at the contract and shake their heads at the thought of having Johnson, but from my perspective he is a solid player who contributes at all times. Will be interesting to see if a contender in need of a wing makes a move for Johnson in the summer.

BEST MOMENT

It was early in the season, but Johnson was in midseason form in the second game of the year against the Detroit Pistons. Johnson went for 34 points, eight rebounds, and six assists en route to the Nets victory on the road. Johnson scored 15 of his 34 in the final eight minutes of the game.
Here's his highlights from the game.

NEEDS TO

Get healthy. Johnson has been battling tendinitis for several years and has had battles with plantar fasciitis. Turning 34 in June, Johnson just needs to remain in good health to continue being the steady force he is.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHT

The Nets mid-season victory over the Clippers was something special. For me, personally, this was one of my favorite games of the year. The Nets came roaring back in the final minute or so to steal one from LA at home. Part of that comeback was due to Johnson's heroics, who missed two free throws with under a minute left, but drained a three from the Shake Shack across the street from Barclays.

IN THE FUTURE

Who knows. IF Johnson is back in Brooklyn next season, his role is likely to be similar. He became a good passer out of the post, arguably the Nets best facilitator with the way he found open teammates. So maybe Lionel Hollins would look to have Joe work out of the post more as a passer.

Johnson's skill set is defined and clear, and with the emergence of Bojan Bogdanovic, a player who loves to move off the ball, the Nets could be fine at both wing positions.

GRADE: B-

It was a down year for Johnson, but the Nets couldn't have asked for more. After coming through time and time again, Johnson may be in for the decline of his career. Forever and always, Joe Jesus.