The other thing is the only way I can see Johnson becoming the future starting small forward for the Raptors is if they find their franchise player at a difference position.
I'm a big fan of James Johnson. His defense is actually outstanding (measured in terms of how frequently and efficiently his guard scores), and he gets blocks, steals and rebounds to boot. His offensive game is definitely weak, but he's athletic, which allows him to get to the bucket for some throwdowns, so it's not like he's totally absent from the offensive side.
If he improves his handles a bit and his knowledge of the game, and develops more as a point-forward (especially if Bayless takes over the starting point guard role), I think he'd be a great - and highly interesting - option to start at the 3.
I also think it's pretty likely that the Raptors will be drafting a SF next year, and that SF is likely to be pencilled in as the starter. But JJ as a starter until then is fine by me, and will (assuming he improves) be a valuable rotation player capable of playing good minutes afterwards.
IF and a big if at this point there is a season he's going to have a great opportunity. Realistically with Kleiza out until the new year he won't be looking over his shoulder and should be looking at 30+ minutes a night on a regular basis. With next years draft being heavy at the 3 he's got a lot to do to cement himself as the future SF. Will he produce enough for the Raptors to look else where very unlikely but he'll have the chance if there is a season that's for sure.
I'm 99.9% sure that the Raptors will draft a SF next year. Which means that James Johnson pretty much has THIS year to prove he belongs. Not meaning to sound harsh, but if there's a lockout I think he's done not only as a Raptor, but in the NBA*.
I see him as a player with Matt Barnes-like potential, but he needs the minutes to reach that level. If there's a lockout, then we'll draft a top 2-3 SF from what is being called a really great draft and he'll just never develop. And if I'm to be honest, Matt Barnes is not really that good.. he's not a starter, certainly not on a good team. He's a guy who plays hard and occasionally makes a great play but otherwise does not have enough all-round skills to receive significant minutes. Hell, he couldn't get more minutes than Shannon Brown who plays the same position as Kobe, and this was in a season where Ron Artest was absolutely horrific!
For the person who saw Boris Diaw, I don't know about that.. he can probably gain the same level of athleticism but I don't think Johnson has the basketball instincts of a Boris Diaw, who is an extremely smart and savvy basketball player.
*not as in he'll be flipping burgers in two years, but will probably be better served playing in Europe.
Check Diaw's stats - especially first 2 years in ATL.
Compare with JJ's 28 games in Toronto:
No comparison is ever perfect. There is no doubt Diaw is the more savvy player but he is also 5 years older with much more experience. In terms of athleticism, I'd give that battle to Johnson. The similarities are situational circumstance when acquired by BC (i.e. not used much although Diaw was playing more than JJ), size, and ability to guard and play multiple positions while starting when need be. Diaw did a good job when Amar'e was injured in PHX and he was a great player to have coming off the bench due to his versatility. That is what I meant by the comparison and the future role I envision for JJ in Toronto.
I would agree that the raps will most likely draft a SF in next years draft and therefore, JJ is a stopgap starter this year, and partial starter next year, and then a solid rotation player after that. However, you never know for sure how a draft is going down and it is still a long way away. We could face a situation where we miss out on all the "elite" SF's or an amazing player at another position falls into our laps or (and I hope this one really really doesn't happen) we draft an "elite" SF except that he somehow underachieves greatly. We desperately need someone who can put the team on their back in tough games and I doubt that Johnson can ever be THAT guy. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that we'll be able to draft THAT guy next year and johnson may be the best SF we have for the next 2-3 years.
Last edited by ezz_bee; Fri Jul 15th, 2011 at 10:41 AM.
"They're going to have to rename the whole conference after us: Toronto Raptors 2014-2015 Northern Conference Champions" ~ ezzbee
"We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon
I like him. He's tough, defends and has that swagger. I'm confident his jumper will develop. I am most worried about PG sinc e I see a serious drop off after Jose leaves. Concentrate there and let JJ develop!
I think you can probably pull up several dozen players that compare pretty closely over their first 2 seasons in the NBA, but you're right their numbers are fairly similar.. even the advanced stats!
I guess then the key thing is Johnson's development -- his minutes. So where the lockout helps a guy like JV, it's going to hurt Johnson.. especially because he didn't enter the league at 19/20 like most rookies. After playing sparingly for the Bulls, he needs repetitions to hone his skills. Before his breakout year at age 23, Diaw had already logged 3100 NBA minutes. By the end of his 4th season, he had played over 8000 minutes.
James Johnson has played just 1500 minutes and if there is no season this year, we'll draft a SF and James might get another 2000 minutes (25 minutes per game in 80 games). He'll have 3500 minutes under his belt at age 25 when Boris had more than double that.
It's just not the best situation for him and I think he is a guy who needs minutes to develop his all-round game.. I think that applies for any young player.
As our franchise currently stands, there is basically nobody on our roster besides DeRozan that can be considered as "locked-in" for the future as a starter. I like JJ. He's got some good tools to work with and could maybe develop into a solid player in the NBA. Whether or not he's the right SF for us in the future is impossible to tell because we really don't know who our true "core" guys are.
I like everything about his game except for his jumper and decision-making at times. He is essentially still a rookie based on the number of minutes he has played so far in his career. That means he still has a lot of room to improve. That means we have yet to see what this guy can really do. That means we need to see him play more.
I like how he committed himself over the summer through rigorous training. I just hope he approaches his jump shot with the same mentality because I really feel that if he improves the way DeMar has improved last season, he can become our starting SF for the future. And if come draft night we draft a stud 3, then that's a problem I would love to have, rather than not having any choice but to play scrubs as starters.
Johnson doesn't have NBA skills. He's played 1500 minutes in the league and done little or nothing to help his teams win. He'd only be a starter on a disastrous team. I'm assuming "future starter" implies a future winning Raptors team. I seriously doubt he'll ever be one of the 30-40 players in the league who really create a lot of wins for their teams.
he can be a starter for the raps
i see him as a shane battier type player with a little edge in scoring
The Boris Diaw comparison is not that as Diaw is a solid all-around player and can do jus about everything just like J J can.. the only thing that J J lacks compared to him is bulk and a shot.
Also, I don't see how he'd not come back to the NBA or wouldn't get a contract here.
lol "the game" has some crazy lyrics in his music.
Nice reel, besides the bright white lighting it was a decent watch. I hope JJ can come in and show he's a serviceable player next year. That said, I could have done without the Ajinca slo-mo shot, guy creeps me out enough already.