Veteran playmaker Joe Johnson became a critical player in the Miami Heat’s rotation during the stretch run in 2015-16, but he signed elsewhere on Saturday.
CBS Sports' Zach Harper was among those impressed by Utah's ability to snag Johnson on such a fair contract:
Johnson joined the Heat during the season after the Brooklyn Nets bought out his contract. He proceeded to average 13.4 points behind 41.7 percent shooting from downtown in 24 games with Miami and helped lead the team to the postseason, where he scored 12.1 points per game in 14 contests.
Despite his solid numbers, he only shot 28.3 percent from deep in those playoffs and failed to take advantage of the open looks he received when Dwyane Wade created openings by drawing the defense on his drives.
His new team likely hopes his regular-season performance with Miami was more of an indicator of what it will receive moving forward following this deal.
While Johnson was an important piece for Miami, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel pointed to the possibility of Justise Winslow emerging as the starting small forward of the future. He is a blossoming young talent who was the 10th overall pick in the 2015 draft, although Winderman did say the Heat could have used Johnson as a shooter if the blood clots that hampered Chris Bosh the last two seasons were still a concern.
Alas, Johnson will join the Jazz with an impressive resume.
He entered the league when the Boston Celtics drafted him with the 10th overall pick in 2001, and he has played for the Celtics, Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks, Nets and Heat. Johnson is best known for his outside shooting and is ninth on the NBA’s all-time list of made three-point field goals with 1,832 in his career.
The career 37.2 percent shooter from three-point range is a seven-time All-Star and averaged double-digit scoring totals the last 13 seasons.
He topped the 20 points-per-game mark five straight years during his prime from 2005 to 2010. He also generated plenty of offense outside of just his perimeter shooting by producing at least five assists per night three different times in his career:
|Joe Johnson's Career Per-Game Stats|
|2001-02||Boston Celtics/Phoenix Suns||77||7.5||2.3||3.3||29.2|
|2015-16||Brooklyn Nets/Miami Heat||81||12.2||3.9||3.6||38.3|
Despite the gaudy stats, Johnson is 35 years old and is no longer in his prime, but he proved he can be a reliable secondary option at this stage of his career with the Heat.
He is also battle-tested with 101 career playoff games on his resume and can serve his new squad as a veteran presence who understands how to prepare for the postseason during the grinding 82-game schedule.
Johnson may no longer be the go-to scorer he was as one of the best offensive players in the league when he was younger, but he will provide leadership and important scoring from the outside for a young Jazz team that is ready to blossom.