Former perennial NBA All-Star, “Iso” Joe Johnson, may be nearing a comeback according to NBA insider, Marc J. Spears. Spears came out with a report on August 28th stating that Johnson will be working out for the 76ers, Clippers, Nuggets, Pelicans, and yes, the Bucks. The workouts will take place soon after the BIG3 Championship this weekend.
The BIG3 is a 3-on-3 basketball league that Joe Johnson has been absolutely dominating with teammates Al Jefferson and Jamario Moon. Most of the players in this league are older and not as athletic as they used to be, but the physicality and competitiveness makes up for it. The BIG3 is no joke, the players go hard and leave everything they have on the court. Joe Johnson dominating this league is no easy feat. He has done so well that he was recently named the BIG3 MVP by leading the league in scoring, assists, and 4-pointers. The 4-pointer is a shot in the BIG3 that is beyond the NBA three point line and put 30 feet away from the basket. When people talk about “Steph Curry range” that’s the 4-point shot. As well as leading those categories, Johnson also finished 3rd in rebounds, 2nd in steals, and 2nd in 3-pointers made.
The last time Johnson played in the NBA was during the 2017-18 season when he played in 55 games and scored 6.8 points per game. He shot a somewhat disappointing 40.6% from the field and only 27.6% from three. However, during this season, he was still the elite mid-range shooter he’s always been. He shot 44.9% from 10 feet extending to the 3-point line.
Johnson’s last three years he played in the NBA, he averaged 9.7 points per game in 26.9 minutes per game while also averaging 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists. His last three season averages look good when it comes to shooting percentages, considering he shot 43.1% from the field and 37.2% from three. All of these numbers are very acceptable for a role player coming off the bench.
Joe Johnson is far removed from the time he was one of the best offensive players in the game. His best stretch of his career came from 2005 through 2012, which he spent all with the Hawks. During this period he scored 20.9 points per game while shooting 44.9% from the field and 36.3% from three. Also, he hauled in 4.2 rebounds and dished out 5.2 assists per game. From 05 through 12 he made six All-Star games and an All-NBA team. Obviously, Johnson isn’t that player anymore but nobody ever has or will question his ability to get buckets against any defender. As he got older throughout he just did it less often which is the case with many great scorers.
When it comes to playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, “Iso” Joe, is an intriguing option. Throughout his career he has shown success when playing in the city of Milwaukee. He has played in 46 games and averaged 16.4 points per game while knocking down 37.9% of his threes showing he is comfortable in the Milwaukee atmosphere. The only thing that worries me when it comes to a potential Joe Johnson signing is his ability to play defense. He has always been an average to below average defender, but what helps him is his ability to generate steals which may be enough to keep him on the court.
There is no doubt in my mind that Joe Johnson can positively contribute to a contending team, like the Bucks, for 15 to 22 minutes per game because of his scoring ability and 3-point range. He could take minutes from guys like Sterling Brown and Pat Connaughton and at 6’7” play power forward in small ball lineups. A lineup featuring Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Eric Bledsoe looks like a spacing and shooting nightmare for opposing defenses.
*Stats according to basketball-reference.com*