Chicago Bulls: The James Johnson Effect
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Right now everyone that writes about the NBA and the Chicago Bulls, seems to be fixated on Carlos Boozer and his broken hand. Did it he trip over the bag? Did he punch a wall? Did he get in to a wrestling match with a midget clown? Okay so the last one probably isn't an option, but you get my point. I'm tired of hearing about Carlos Boozer's broken hand for two reasons. One, he broke his hand in a silly accident. Two, there are way more exciting things happening with the Bulls than Boozer's hand.
Which brings me to the reason for my first piece of blogging, which is the play of James Johnson. Last year he looked overweight, disinterested and to be honest he looked lost when he actually got court time. Everyone had said he would be the best of the two draft picks, however I will mention at this time I always said Taj Gibson would be better. Then there's that memorable, or forgettable if your JJ, blow by and power dunk by Lebron James against him in last season's playoffs. So by the time last season ended, every man and his dog was looking to trade James Johnson or at the very least put him in the D League.
Enter the 2010 NBA pre-season and James Johnson. Wait a minute, he's lot 30 pounds and looks athletic. He's getting one on one coaching with the greatest small forward in NBA history, Scottie Pippen. He looks interested and like he knows what's happening around him on the court, and best of all, he's contributing. In the last two pre-season games he's averaged 18 minutes, 6.5ppg, 3rpg and best of all 0.5 turnovers. Yes you read that right, in two games and a total of 36 minutes he's had 1 turnover. This isn't the only good news, in the last two pre-season games Johnson has gone 6/8 in total from the field, and only committed three fouls.
Now before we get too excited the fun police have arrived to say things like “he's only playing that well because the roster is stronger than last year”, or “it's only the pre-season”. While these are valid points, I feel that JJ has finally turned a corner in his career and attitude. While last year he seemed like a spoilt brat at times, almost like he expected court time just because of his play at Wake Forest. This year however he seems open to being shown better, smarter ways of doing things on the court. He seems more willing to speak with the media, and in turn, the media seems to slowly be writing more positive things about him.
In closing I just want to say that I'm the happiest Bulls fan in the world, that JJ has finally seen the light. He has impressed me with his pre-season play, and I'm excited to hear that he could be not only playing the 3 spot but also some 2 potentially. With a 6-9 shooting guard that gives the Bulls size and strength against the bigger guards and teams, which is something the Bulls have been lacking since old 23 left the building. James, I hope you have a great season and I'm sure with all the positive steps you're taking you will be a success.
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