2014-2015 In Review: Joe Johnson
Joe Johnson was considered a star just three seasons ago when he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets from the Atlanta Hawks. Unfortunately for the Nets and Johnson, the seven time all-star has faded into a $23 million dollar role player.
Johnson had a solid year, but once again did not live up to his contract. The slip has been quick from star to role player and a little painful to watch. His usage percentage dipped to 20.3 percent this season, which was his lowest since 2004-2005. The former number one scoring option only averaged 14.4 points in the 2014-2015 season, his lowest mark since the 2002-2003 season. The Johnson that could command a double team and change a game with his scoring is fleeting.
He saw the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows throughout the season. The highs being the occasional 20 point scoring outburst and helping win the Nets a few games in a row. The lows were scoring in the single digits 21 times in 80 games and disappearing from the picture for stretches.
The usual sharpshooting Johnson struggled from behind the arc this season as his percentage slipped from 40 percent to 36 percent. The Nets could have used a more consistent shooting Johnson after the decline of Deron Williams and injury of Mirza Teletovic. Nets like Brook Lopez could have used the additional spacing.
Johnson did find success inside the arc with his 44 percent shooting, though. His post game was lethal when used against smaller guards and he found success around the rim against less athletic bigs. Lionel Hollins had success playing Johnson at the four at times. Johnson’s post savvy and quick moves around the basket were able to bolster the Nets offense when it bogged down.
The Nets’ team defense was up and down all season and Johnson was not a bright spot on that end of the floor. His 110 defensive rating was the second worst of any Net in Hollins’ inconsistent rotation. He frequently found himself out of position or killed by a quicker player.
Johnson’s playoff performance wasn’t much more consistent in the postseason. The Nets surprised many people by pushing the number one seeded Hawks to 6 games. Johnson wasn’t an efficient impact guy though, averaging 16.5 points per game on 36 percent shooting and 29 percent from 3 point range.
Johnson even saw his name in trade rumors during the regular season. The Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Hornets were the teams rumored to be vying for Johnson’s services.
“It’s true. My name is out there,” Johnson said in February.
The Nets ultimately decided to keep Johnson, but it is unclear if he will be around after the 2014-2015 season. Johnson has potential to be a nice addition for a contending team that needs an aging perimeter player if the Nets do in fact move away from him.
It was a long season for Joe Johnson as he fell under the weight of his big contract and expectations. If he had another contract Johnson’s season would be looked at much differently.