Brooklyn Nets: Midseason Grades

Kris Humphries, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace
Seems like a lifetime ago. (AP)

Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson, J.R. Smith
One of Joe Johnson’s many big shots this year. (AP)

Joe Joe Johnson has been the best Brooklyn Nets player that isn’t named Brook Lopez, but it hasn’t always been that way. Johnson started the year off frozen, making people quickly wonder if the former All-Star was already over the hill. He had ugly games and we all wondered why MarShon Brooks wasn’t getting more burn. He shot 5-14 against the Knicks in December and shot an anti-blistering 4-14 on Christmas Day versus Boston. Johnson turned in mediocre game after mediocre game, and the Nets slid as a result.

However, while Johnson has the uncanny ability to force shots or fire the Nets out of a game, he’s done his fair share of winning this season as well. Before continuing, it’s important to note a few things: Where would we be if Johnson didn’t hit a buzzer-beater game winner against a poor Detroit team (sitting at 20-32, currently) back in December? Where would we be if Johnson didn’t do the same thing against a terrible Washington (14-35 now, even worse then) team? Finally, where would we be if Johnson didn’t hit the game-winner against the Knicks?

Nowhere near a top four seed. The Knicks would own the important tiebreakers. While we can criticize Johnson for his poor shot selection at times, we have to remember that this team might be a sinking ship without him. Since the New Year, Johnson has looked closer to his older form, shooting near 50% more consistently by hacking and backing his way into the lane before contorting his body in some weird hybrid between a post-up move and a fade-away. But: it works. That’s all you can ask for.
-Benjamin Nadeau

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Full List:
Andray Blatche | Keith Bogans | MarShon Brooks | P.J. Carlesimo | Reggie Evans | Kris Humphries | Joe Johnson | Brook Lopez | Tornike Shengelia | Jerry Stackhouse | Tyshawn Taylor | Mirza Teletovic | Gerald Wallace | C.J. Watson | Deron Williams