The Rockets signing of Joe Johnson will be huge for the remainder of the season. The 6’7″ guard out of Arkansas was involved in a three-team deal that sent him to the Sacramento Kings. The Kings then bought out his contract, making him eligible to sign with any team. Within a few days after the deadline, the Rockets picked him up.
When it comes to “Iso-Joe”, he can instantly take over a game. Throughout his career, he’s been a huge star on teams like the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, and Miami Heat.
Johnson is an offensive mastermind, and he’s able to get everything he wants off-the-dribble. His ability to pull-up off-the-dribble is similar to that of Carmelo Anthony. Once he gets a defender in an isolation, it’s all over. All he needs is two or three dribbles to create for himself, and the rest falls into place. Though he hasn’t won a ring, once the playoffs start he’s a different breed, and at 36 years old, he can still perform at the highest level possible. Here’s his game-winner in the first-round of the playoffs last year:
Fans tend to forget how good he truly was with Atlanta. To me, this earns him the “underrated” tag, even though he was award a six-year contract worth $123.7 million in 2010. In his seven-year tenure with the Hawks, he averaged over 18 PPG every season, with a six All-Star appearances under his belt. In those seven years, Atlanta saw the postseason every year.
When he went to Brooklyn many thought that the Nets were going to win it all in. This team consisted of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez, Jason Terry, and Joe Johnson. It was an All-Star starting five, yet Johnson led the team in scoring for the three seasons he spent with the Nets. He led Brooklyn to the playoffs including a 33-point performance against LeBron and the Heat.
There’s no doubt that Johnson can put the ball in the basket. For that reason alone he’s going to impact the Rockets positively moving forward.
The Rockets second-unit consists of Eric Gordon, Nene, P.J Tucker, and now Joe Johnson. Houston has one of the best benches in the NBA, and with an offensive talent like Johnson, it complements all the players on the floor. Like Harden, he’s a creator, and the ball will be in his hands most of the time with the second unit. He’ll create space for Gordon to get his shots and give Nene and Tucker great position to get boards offensively and defensively.
Head Coach Mike D’Antoni can have a field day with the assets he’s been given. His line-up is interchangeable. Anyone can start or come off the bench and still have the same effect and impact. The Rockets are a half-game up on the Warriors, and they have all the talent to maintain that first seed. “Iso-Joe” was brought in for the post-season. He may not have an immediate impact, but he’ll be ready when the playoffs come around.