Joe Johnson is not a max-deal player, there I said it.
With all of the discussions about the class of 2010 and the meetings between players and the recruiting trips teams are going on to get them we have sort of lost a sense of what these players have actually done and what their true worth really is.
We know that Dwyane Wade is the only champion of the bunch. We know that LeBron James is the only two-time MVP in the group and with Dirk Nowitzki they are the only players other than Wade to be in a final.
We also know that Paul Pierce is 32 going on 40 as we saw in the playoffs, we know that David Lee and Amar’e Stoudemire could guard a bottle of Knob Creek bourbon if their lives depended on it and we also know that Joe Johnson is the most overrated member of the group.
Did any of you watch the playoffs this past year? Joe Johnson played worse than any guard looking for a max-deal that I have ever seen. He shot 39% for the playoffs including a horrid series against the Magic which saw him go for 13 points and four assists a game while shooting 29.8% from the field.
Johnson has watched his scoring average dip from 25 points per game to 21.3 points per game in the last three seasons. His assists have decreased as has his free throw attempts per game.
Another big red flag to consider, he’s a 29 year-old shooting guard. Shooting guard are like running backs, once they hit a certain age their productivity decreases and their effectiveness dwindles. Keep this in mind Hawks fans, when Joe Johnson hits the fourth year of his deal when it increases to over 20 million a years he will be 32 years old, look at the production of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen after the age of 32. Look at the decreasing production of Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter since age 30, do you want to pay a player who is better off as a role player 20 million dollars a season until he’s 35? I would hope not.
Yet here are the Hawks offering a huge chunk of salary that they could use to pay Al Horford or Josh Smith or even the actual face of their team Jamaal Crawford to Joe Johnson. Johnson would be a fool not to rob the Hawks blind of 12o million dollars over 6 years. However that’s only because the Hawks are the even bigger fools of giving it to him.