Is Joe Johnson an All-Star?

Posted on: January 17th, 2014 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce

Joe Johnson (right) is Brooklyn's best shot at an All-Star appearance. (AP)

With the Brooklyn Nets slowly climbing towards .500, the team's had a number of bright spots emerge. Shaun Livingston's turned into a key cog with Deron Williams injured, Kevin Garnett's defense has worked wonders at center, and Paul Pierce has done damage as the team's small-ball power forward.

But through it all, there's one player that's been a model of consistency all season, that the Nets have turned to throughout: shooting guard Joe Johnson, the team's leading scorer and most likely All-Star candidate.
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The NBA All-Star reserves, voted by the Eastern Conference coaches, will be announced on Thursday, and Nets interim-esque coach P.J. Carlesimo thinks the Nets deserve three spots off the bench.

"They're all worthy of being All-Stars," Carlesimo said of Nets stars Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, and Deron Williams after last night's game. "It's in the coaches' hands now, so I feel good about that. There's 15 teams in our conference. So we'll see what happens. The only good news is if they don't make it, they'll get some rest."

Carlesimo, who cannot vote for his own players via NBA rules, had especially high praise for Lopez. "He's playing as well as any center in the league. I don't know another center that's playing better than him."

 

Five minutes before his scheduled media availability at Monday's Nets practice, Billy King walked up to Brook Lopez and let him know of a report in the New York Daily News speculating that the Dwightmare may rise again, that the Brooklyn Nets may once again try to trade for Dwight Howard.

Sure enough, the first question for Lopez was on that subject -- and all Lopez could do was look away, smirk, and laugh.

"It is what it is," Lopez shrugged. "I've dealt with it before. Even when this was a non-issue for the months the season has gone on, I didn't read any of the media stuff that anyone put out. ... I ignore that stuff. I had no inkling of this until Billy told me."

Though he does consider it an honor, Lopez was similarly unconcerned his potential to join his first All-Star team this season. "I can't lie and say i wouldn't like to make the team," Lopez affirmed. "I'd definitely enjoy that, but my goal is to help the team be the best team it can be."

Lopez is currently averaging 18.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game on 52.3% shooting, and ranks fifth in the league in Player Efficiency Rating, behind just LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul. But don't ask him about his statistics -- he couldn't care less.

"I don't know what my stats are, I don't know what (Dwight's) stats are, I don't know anyone's," Lopez grinned. "I couldn't tell you anyone's stats, I promise you.

(What about Robin?) "Definitely not Robin's. ... The wins matter the most."

Deron Williams also dismissed the latest report with a simple "Are you serious?" and laugh, but was more authoritative about Lopez's candidacy.

"To me he's definitely an All-Star," Williams boasted about his teammate. "He's playing like one on both ends of the floor. He's a big reason why we're playing well right now. He's a constant threat for a double-double, and you throw in those blocks he's getting… he's playing so good for us right now.

He's confident," Williams continued. "He's not looking over his shoulder every five minutes thinking he's going to get traded, as far as his focus and him being mentally ready to play. he's being so aggressive on both ends, that's something you love to see."

As for the Dwightmare, Williams was clear: "Hopefully it doesn't become an issue."

 

The NBA released their third tallies of All-Star ballot voting yesterday, and two Nets found their names listed: in the backcourt, Deron Williams is (a distant) third behind Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo, and Joe Johnson, and in the frontcourt, Brook Lopez is 15th.

15th.

Yes, the logic of All-Star Voting doesn't exist, yes, Brook Lopez isn't a flashy name, and yes, the fact that the ballot removed "center" as a position this year works against him. But there aren't fourteen better frontcourt players in the East. There aren't fourteen better frontcourt players in the NBA.

I went through some of this yesterday on Twitter, but because some of you may not use the highly addictive social media service (or didn't happen to be on it while I was ranting about this very subject), let's look over some facts about Brook Lopez.... MORE →