“He might not be there when you call on him, but he’s there when you need him.”
That was Kevin Garnett on his moniker “Joe Jesus” for teammate Joe Johnson, who we’ve named the 2013-14 Nets Most Valuable Player.
The Brooklyn Game polled staff, contributors and our partners at YES Network to vote for the Nets’ most valuable player, with Joe Johnson earning 17 of a possible 20 first-place votes. (Full tally below.)
Johnson was the team’s leading scorer, averaging 15.8 points on 45.4 percent shooting from the field and a team-high 40.1 percent shooting from three-point range. His effective field goal percentage of .533 was the highest among regular starters, and he led the team with 3.9 offensive win shares. He was the team’s lone representative at the NBA All-Star Game.
Throughout the season, Johnson was the team’s most consistent player and scorer, leading the team in games (79), games started (79), minutes played (2,575), points (1,245), and double-digit scoring nights (62). With Johnson in the game, the Nets were +1.1 per 100 possessions, with him out, they were outscored by 3.7 points per 100, fourth-best on the roster.
He played with a quiet confidence, never losing his cool regardless of tension or circumstance. Though he was known ignominiously as “Iso-Joe,” Johnson scored in a variety of ways all season: as “Sniper Joe” the spot-up shooter, “Joe Curl” curling around screens, on the low block in the “Joe Post,” just for example.
“He can do it in every single way,” Shaun Livingston said of Johnson in April. “There’s not many guys in this league that can do it like that. Inside-out, off the dribble, catch-and-shoot, space the floor, he provides this team with so many different weapons in his arsenal.”
The team’s crunch-time first option for most of the year, Johnson hit two buzzer-beating game-winning shots in the regular season: one against the Phoenix Suns, and another against the Oklahoma City Thunder, which kicked off their 34-17 run in 2014.
In a long interview with The Brooklyn Game at the team’s training camp at Duke University in September, Johnson said his crunch-time mentality was “instinct. All instinct.”
Johnson kicked his game up in the playoffs, increasing his PER from 15.8 to 20.5 in 12 postseason games, averaging 21.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.9 assists while shooting a robust 58 percent from two-point range and 41.5 percent from three-point range. He had a series of memorable playoff performances, including a 32-point performance in Game 5 of the first round as the Nets fought back from a 26-point deficit, and a 34-point performance in Game 5 of the second round, as he carried the Nets within an inch of forcing a Game 6 against the defending champion Miami Heat.
The voting was done NBA-style, with first-place votes earning five points, second-place votes earning three points, and third-place votes getting one point. (The NBA actually does five votes for MVP, but since there are just 15 players to choose from for the Nets, we decided to cut it down a bit.) Paul Pierce ranked second behind Johnson in the voting with 34 points, and Deron Williams was third with 27. Full voting breakdown below.
Congrats, Joe Cool.
Click here for a list of voters.