Monday, May 07, 2012

Wherein Joe Johnson and I Are Largely in Agreement

Chris Vivlamore reports on Joe Johnson's assessment of Game 4:
A day later, Joe Johnson was at loss for words about the Hawks’ embarrassing Game 4 loss to the Celtics that has the team on the brink of playoff elimination.

His one-word answer to a question on his number of shot attempts spoke volumes.

Johnson took just eight shots in Sunday’s 101-79 loss to the Celtics, who are up 3-1 in the best-of-seven series heading into Game 5 Tuesday at Philips Arena.

“I don’t think they are doing anything different defensively on me,” Johnson said. “I think it’s just, basically, getting an opportunity to touch the ball. That’s it.”

When asked if he was not happy with his touches, Johnson answered with a simple, but emphatic, “No.”
I didn't think the Celtics did anything different defensively on Joe Johnson, either. Nor am I happy with his touches.

Joe Johnson's touches, a word picture by Bret LaGree

Remain stationary

Receive the ball
Dribble laterally to or away from the basket
(second Boston defender arrives)
Take contested jump shot or pass to teammate Boston purposely leaves open

I mean, come on. Based on his playoff performances as a Hawk, Joe Johnson would be expected to score 14 whole points in 31 minutes of action, not a mere 9.

Joe Johnson wants touches so badly he's resorting to getting his fix on the defensive end, touching, lingering even, on almost every screen a Celtic sets to free Paul Pierce.

Only 4 years and $89 million to go.


Manuel Britto said...

You my friend provide no insight to the game. Most of your posts on joe are so full of hate that it is unbearable to read them. Why espn chose you to cover the hawks, I don't know. You have to be by far the most ignorant biased blogger that I have ever came across.

Bret LaGree said...

I'll just put you down, Manuel, for thinking $200 million plus one league average player plus two first round picks (not counting the bad picks made all or in part because of Joe Johnson's presence) is an excellent investment for the glory of losing 60% of playoff games over five seasons, losing half of the playoff games against teams with inferior regular season records.

Thank you for the insight and, as always, thanks for reading. I've really enjoyed your work over the last five seasons as well.

Jonesy2x4 said...

Bret Smash? Bret Smash!!

DOOM BUGGY said...

Joe is a BUM!!! He needs to go. LD can go with him.

Knox said...

It is scary to think how Joe's playoff performances will only decline with the remaining 4 years on his contract. Manuel, do you realize that Joe receives the 10th highest ( salary in the NBA? Do you really wish to imply that the Hawks should be paying Joe more than Dwight Howard, Lebron James, or Chris Paul? I don't even know if Joe matches up well with any of the top 30 players on the highest paid salaries list. If anyone on the Hawks should be getting paid that much, it should be Josh Smith, but his attitude makes that difficult. I am not quite sure if that contract would even result in Josh Smith focusing on just playing basketball.

I am interested to see what and if the Hawks do anything major in the off-season. I am pretty much under the assumption that the Hawks have lost the series, but I know I am not alone in that. Is there anyone willing to pick up Joe's contract in a trade? Doubtful. Also, is it safe to assume that if there aren't some major upheavals within the program that Josh Smith will explore the free agency market after next season? If so, are the Hawks liable to trade him? Lastly, not re-signing Kirk and placing amnesty on Marvin's contract will open up some space, so hopefully the Hawks can make up for the many mistakes over the past years.

jrauch said...

I'm not a fan of his by any stretch, but Bobby Knight's phrase for how Joe Johnson plays is totally apt: He dribbles the air out of the ball.

Standing there dribbling, trying to shake and bake your defender, while four teammates watch and -- maybe more importantly -- four other defenders stare at you is not a recipe for success in the NBA. Especially when you can't beat anyone off the dribble, and all your moves are a set up for a contested fadeaway jumper.

Those two years with Woody when there was no one else on the team ruined him as a team player, imo. Its like he's intentionally taking the toughest shot he can, just to prove he can do it.

I'm still floored the organization paid him a max level deal.

nolan said...

Brett, I've been reading your site a few years now. Awesome analysis, and you perfectly encapsulate the forever frustrating existence of a Hawks fan: watching the talents of Horford, Smoove, Johnson, and Teague be continually misused and wasted by poor management and worse coaching. Thank you for your hard work and keep it up!

Cbuck44 said...

I sometimes agree with you on this blog. I often do not but I realize the reason I do not is my own fanaticism- I as a hawks fan just want something better from someone who is supposed to also be a hawks fan. Look at it like this... If we were Miami, Boston, San Antonio, LA(both teams) who would be held responsible for the nonsensical manner in which our team has played? We have the fire power, maybe not the personalities, but with this group great things could happen. What we don't have is a coach- I cannot for the life of me figure out what he is doing most of the time. And when I can, and it goes well, 9/10 times he inexplicably changes it. While I want to agree with Manuel I simply cannot, however I think your frustrations about/toward Joe and your comments should be aimed at bad coaching and bad management. Who would say no to an offer made to them like JJ's? Do I think Joe should get more touches? Based on his PER and performances in the playoffs, no. Do I think better coaching should lead to better opportunities for JJ to come off screens rather than dribble the ball for 16-20 seconds and either miss a contested shot or force someone else to bail him out, ABSOLUTELY.

A word to Manuel... I feel you man but read the title of the blog "Run on pessimism and truth" If we swept Boston the fact of the matter is Brett would tell us how Boston messed up- not how we did well. This is an ESPN extension after all.

Unknown said...

MANUEL are you out of your mind?!?!?!?! I have been a Hawks fan my entire life- 20 years of season tickets, which I ended this past year. Joe Johnson has ruined the Hawks potential. The fact that he has the audacity to make a comment like this after his ridiculous end game possessions clearly lost us game 2 and game 3 is amazing. His late game heroics exist against teams like detroit, cleveland, utah... but he HAS to realize that against the Celtics its simply NOT GOING TO WORK. and Larry Drew, who has clearly become his B*tch.... agrees with him/backs him up?!?!?!?! I NEED a new team, I need to move cities.. because this is not going to get better. This is a sad waste of talent. Hinrich, marvin, willie--WHERE AER YALL??

Also- after all Ivan Johnson showed he could do this year, he still gets no playing time even when Jcollins gets exhausted after 10 minutes of run... against a small team???

get me outta here. I agree with everything you say Bret. And I can't stand Pargo minus the 2 seconds it takes to make a three

Manuel Britto said...

This blog is obviously biased in favor of Josh Smith who in my honest opinion is an offense on cancer. You look at the stat sheet and think that Josh has a solid game when in reality he plays the WRONG way. Not saying that Joe is perfect, but focusing all the blame towards one player (don't act like you don't) is too extreme. Josh should not be getting praise when he shoots low percentage jump shots, turning the ball over on the fast break, and just basically being a moron on offense AND defense. I have not seen a worse positional defender than Josh Smith, and saying that Josh gives his all out there is a complete joke!!! Basketball is not won on emotions and scrunchy faces (which I guess what you think giving your all is), it's won on discipline and team work. Josh Smith provides none of that, and atleast Joe doesn't become the other team's freakin sixth man when he doesn't play well. All I'm trying to say is that your blog is geared too much in favor of Josh Smith and too much against Joe. If you are going to be an official blogger atleast try to be unbiased in your pessimissm.

Manuel Britto said...

And sorry about the initial post, I reread it and I came off as a douche, you don't deserve that. It's just that it's frustrating as a hawks fan, and Joe being my favorite player, when both the team and him play awful in the playoffs. It just sucks being a hawks fan sometimes.

Manuel Britto said...

As far as Josh Smith, here are some reasons why he hasn't been an allstar, will never be a championship caliber player (unless he changes his way of playing the game), and why despite all the stats will never be our best player:

1. Uncoachable: He doesn't listen to the coach, now you all might be saying LD has been providing positive reinforcement for the way Josh plays, but let me ask you this. What honest coach in this world is ok with Josh shooting jumper after jumper when he has proven to be more effective in the post. NONE, LD is simply doing this because he knows that argueing with Josh will result in his ass being shiped out of town.

2.Not a good teamate: He is constantly argueing with teamates both off and on the court, there are countless times where he ignores the wide open guard on the fast break or the half court offense. He constantly trys to bring the ball up by himself, and when he either turns the ball over or goes 1 on 5, momentum shifts.

3. Overestimates his abilities: Josh never plays to his strengths (or else we would be winning this series right now). Instead he tries to do things he is worst at, like shooting jumpers, dribbling up the court, forcing bad passes, IGNORING the pg. He thinks that he can take over a game with his overall ability but it just flat out fails and demoralizes the team. You can see it on the face of Joe, Teague, Horf, and hinrich when he does idiotic stuff.

I understand that Josh probably has the most impact on games, but that doesn't necessarily mean positive impact, he can be the opposing teams 6th man.

Bret LaGree said...

Josh should not be getting praise when he shoots low percentage jump shots...

You certainly have me pegged.

nolan said...

Maybe it's that's Josh Smith represents potential: when he gets it right, he's a force of nature.

Joe Johnson has clearly peaked and will only get worse. Even when Johnson gets hot, he needs a grotesque amount of the team's possessions. He's scored 30+ points 6 times in 60 games, and needed 20+ shots 4 of those times. And he's never taken more than 9 FTs in a game. And that Johnson's contract has crippled the team for the past 2, and the next 4+ years.

I don't mean any offense by this, but is Johnson really anyone's favorite player? He's so... boring. That's like saying your favorite popsicle is water. The TNT crew just called out the entire Hawks roster for having no emotion. It's time to call back to FreeDarko's chapter on Johnson...

jrauch said...

I can't remember the last time I watched the Hawks and thought "Man, Joe Johnson has really put the team on his back tonight. He just refuses to lose."