He learned early on that while you're playing against the best basketball players in the world, this league is a business. Johnson was originally drafted by the Boston Celtics in 2001 with the tenth overall pick. Just midway through his rookie season, Johnson was traded to the Phoenix Suns.
The 2004-05 Phoenix Suns were one of the best teams in the league and came oh so close to going to the NBA Finals but were defeated by the San Antonio Spurs. Johnson then departed for Atlanta as he received a much more lucrative offer from the Hawks than the Suns.
From there, he would be the center piece of a franchise trying to turn its fortunes around. The team struggled mightily to win games his first two seasons winning a combined 56 games from 2005 to the end of the 2007 season.
Things started to turn slowly from there. In his third season with the franchise, the Hawks still struggled but improved enough to 37 wins and were able to gain the eighth seed in a weak Eastern Conference. They fought hard in the first round against the eventual champion Boston Celtics, losing in seven games.
In the seasons that followed, Atlanta kept improving but not enough to be serious title contenders. Johnson was averaging over 20 points per game and the Hawks rewarded him with a six-year, 126 million dollar contract in the summer of 2010. Since then, Johnson's numbers have dipped a bit. His highest points per game average in the three-plus years since receiving that contract he has not averaged more than 18.8 points per game. Still, Johnson made six All-Star appearances with Atlanta and was widely viewed as one of the best one-on-one players in the NBA. While with the Hawks, the term "Iso Joe" became popular as it would always seem as though the Hawks offense would come down to Johnson having to beat his man with little player movement and ball movement going on.
In the summer of 2012, the Hawks trade Johnson to Brooklyn.
His overall statistics have not been exactly eye-popping while with the Nets. He's averaging 16.1 points per game while shooting 42.7 percent from the field. Those are good numbers, but not great.
Still, he's been a major factor for the Nets over the last two seasons. The reason being is that when the game is on the line, he's one of the best finishers in the league.
As Stefan Bondy of the NY Daily News points out, Johnson has hit many clutch shots since the start of last season.
"When the score is within three points in the final 10 seconds of regulation or overtime, Johnson has hit all six of his shots. With 30 seconds or less under those circumstances, Johnson has made 12 of his 16 attempts, including four game-winners at the buzzer for the Nets — bringing his total up to six since the 2007-08 season."
Even with Paul Pierce now being his teammate, Jason Kidd and the Nets still draw up plays for Johnson to take last-second shots.
With his recent history of success you can't question that decision-making.
- Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets Defeat Atlanta Hawks at Home
- Joe Johnson Hits Winner as Brooklyn Nets Stun Thunder in Oklahoma City
- Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets Beat Golden State Warriors at Home
- Brooklyn Nets’ Joe Johnson Torches Philadelphia 76ers with Record-Setting Quarter as Nets Win in Rout
- Paul Pierce, Brooklyn Nets Play Host to Atlanta Hawks on Monday Night
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