The news of the day comes out of Brooklyn, where general manager Billy King and the Nets have orchestrated a deal to land Joe Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks. According to Chris Broussard and Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the two teams have agreed to terms on the deal.
Assuming the deal goes through, the Brooklyn Nets will have built one of the best perimeter attacks in the NBA. Between point guard Deron Williams and shooting guard Joe Johnson, there are nine All-Star appearances and three All-NBA designations. Johnson happens to have six of those All-Star bids, all of which coming in consecutive seasons since 2007.
The former Arkansas Razorback, Johnson, has ranked in the Top 5 for scoring amongst shooting guards in every season since 2009, as well as the Top 10 since 2006. He's also been a Top 10 rebounder since 2008, with a complementary Top 5 ranking in assists since the same year.
In other words, Joe Johnson is one of the best shooting guards in the game. Even if he is incredibly overpaid.
Beyond the statistics, however, how will Johnson and Williams co-exist? What is it that could separate them from the rest in terms of execution? The following statements will offer insight as to just how that will happen.
Capitalize on the Slash
Joe Johnson has always been an excellent jump shooter and a phenomenal finisher around the basket. The issue with Johnson, however, is that he's always struggled to penetrate off of the dribble. With an elite passer like Deron Williams, who is always on the lookout for a slashing teammate, Johnson's reliance on his jump shot will no longer exist.
In turn, Johnson will score at a higher level and Williams' need to drive-and-dish will decrease significantly. This is a play we should all get used to seeing.
Curls, Screens and Subtleties
As previously stated, Johnson is not the greatest at creating for himself off of the dribble. This leads to many contested jump shots, which Johnson can manage, but shouldn't be taking. Instead, Johnson should be working off of screens and coming up for open shots; something the Hawks have never been able to provide him with an opportunity to do.
In Brooklyn, Johnson will be able to work without the basketball in his hands as he has a true point guard at the helm. This will lead to a higher percentage of Johnson's shots falling and the Nets' attack becoming more versatile than a year ago.
Moving Without the Ball
In case you haven't heard, Deron Williams is a pretty good scorer himself. He actually averaged more points per game than Johnson in 2011, posting 21.0 points per contest. His 57-point outing against Charlotte shows just how good he can be.
The issue with Williams' scoring is that he almost always has to create his own looks. This leads to low-percentage attempts and the wear-and-tear on a body that just shouldn't be happening. With Joe Johnson, an elite passer for his position, on the roster, Williams can do more of what he did against the Bobcats: move without the basketball.
Even point guards need someone to take over the facilitating duties every now and then.
Joe Johnson: 21.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.3 SPG
Deron Williams: 18.1 PPG, 9.7 APG, 4.4 RPG, 1.6 SPG
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