YaoPau from Blogabull lays the smack down on the pursuit of Joe Johnson

It's hard to argue with any of this.   Really, read the whole thing as there's no great way to summarize it all.


On one hand, Johnson has the athleticism, health and 3pt shooting to
hold up better than, say, Jerry Stackhouse or Michael Redd.  But on the
other hand, two red flags stand out to me:

  • Despite Johnson's impressive resume, his numbers with the Hawks -
    18.3 PER, .541 TS% - really aren't that impressive.  Those are Josh Howard / Michael Finley type numbers, not ones you'd commit $18+ mil a year till age 33 to.
  • A dropoff at age 32 and 33 is all but guaranteed.  Michael Jordan
    and Jeff Hornacek were the only players to maintain their numbers
    through that age.  Jordan is Jordan, and took two years off; Hornacek
    logged only 14000 minutes through age 28 as a 3rd option.
     Comparatively, Johnson will have played 26000 minutes through age 28,
    with many coming as a #1.

Players like Michael Finley and Jerry Stackhouse, who once
effortlessly played 38+ mpg, broke down hard by age 31. Several players
in the 18 PER crowd saw their PER nosedive by age 31 (Michael Finley,
Rip Hamilton, Steve Smith, Jim Paxson, Alvin Robertson).  In fact, nobody with a PER below 19 from age 26-28 ended up with a 29-33 Score over max level.  (Btw, since Finley keeps coming up in comparisons, I decided to look them up side by side.  Really similar.  You don't want to click Finley's player card to see his stats after age 30.)  I'd say JJ's chances aren't good.

I'm not sure I entirely agree with his method of valuing players for their contract.   Would you really be happy with a guy who averaged a 17 PER, never missed a game, and played 36 minutes a game at a max contract?

I'm not sure how I'd immediately tweak the formula, but I know I'd want to raise the stakes with PER to 20 for a max contract while lowering not enacting a penalty on missed playing time.   Missed playing time is certainly important, but if you have a superstar who misses 10-15 games in the season, it's frequently irrelevant as long as he's healthy for the playoffs.

Still, I think it's a nice way to attempt to quantify how terrible an idea it is to pursue Joe Johnson with a huge money deal.


Leave a comment
  • Without checking the stats I had assumed Johnson would age well because of his size and shooting. Gulp. So who are we throwing our money at if we don't get Bosh/LBJ/Wade?

  • I'm not sure Johnson gets a max deal.

  • Even a 20 PER isn't really the right figure. To pick a couple of early 30s guards who have averaged 20 PER (or there abouts), is Vince Carter worth the max for his last 5 years? How about Chauncey Billups?

    This is one case where I think you can just eyeball it. Just look at the sorts of guys who are 30+ and if you were paying the max you wouldn't feel ripped off: Duncan, Bryant, Nowitzki & Nash are my list. They've all won MVPs in the past, has Johnson even got a single MVP vote in his career?

    I can't stand the thought of the Bulls signing Johnson and basically ensuring they wont win anything for the duration of his contract. Paying a guy like Johnson is subscribing to the "you need stars to win, so if you pay someone like a star maybe they'll be one" theory. I wouldn't pay the max for Johnson's last 5 years, why pay it for his next 5 which figure to be worse?

    If we strike out on LeBron/Bosh/Wade, we really should be looking on splitting the cap space and obtaining two cheaper players rather than overpaying someone just so we can say we got a max free agent.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    It is still vastly better than paying Luol Dung $70-$80 million even in the supposed prime of his career, actually pretty much anything would be.

    At least Joe Johnson is familiar with what the court looks like at the All-Star game, we haven't had a guy like that since 1998, isn't it about time.

    There are only 24 All-Stars, less than one per team, shouldn't every team have at least one guy worth max money, wasn't that the idea behind the methodology for determining the max contract amount.

    While, I am not hoping for Johnson as option #1, I would be more than satisfied if he was free agent #2, after we signed either Lebron or Bosh for that matter.

    Johnson might actually be a better fit next to Rose than Wade would be, maybe, maybe not.

  • " we really should be looking on splitting the cap space and obtaining two cheaper players"

    Like who?

  • In reply to senrad:

    Exactly, after the big 3, the pickings are slim, and with all the cap space sloshing around, everyone after the big 3 will be "overpaid".

  • In reply to senrad:

    Depends what players end up being worth. If we could get David Lee for 10 million per, and a shooting guard with the rest of the space (the original article mentions Foye, but he'd probably come even cheaper) then I'd be reasonably happy with that. Obviously not as good as getting LeBron, but at least you'd feel the team was one lucky draft pick or lopsided trade from true contention.

  • The position the Bulls have to fill are starting SG, PF, and a backup for Noah. If they throw all their money on Joe Johnson, I would consider 2010 a huge failure. With Rose on the roster, the Bulls only need a shooting specialist/floor spacer at the two. I wouldn't want to see a shooting guard on this team make more than 7.5 million per year.

  • i was looking on espn.com. It said that JJ weighed 240 lbs. Is that true? the guy is a monster at the guard position. i cant believe a sg can be 240lbs.

  • Joe Johnson's DOB, January 17, 1982, Dwayne Wade's DOB June 29, 1981.

    So this anaysis, pretty much applies to Wade also. Lets face it, without steroids, we/they are all just Human beings, we all decline at a pretty similar rate. Guys whose games rely on althleticism(1's,2's,and 3's)decline sooner or faster, 4's and 5's probably remain productive a little longer.

    Joe Johnson and Wade will be about where Ray Allen is now or was last season when they reach the end of a 5 or 6 year free agent deal. Which might not be a bad thing as they would become an expiring contract, which we might be able to use to retool the team for the second half of Rose's career, actually his prime.

    Of course all of this argues even more strongly for going after Lebron as option #1, 2,3,&4 followed by Bosh, then Wade, then Johnson and or others. Maybe, we should look at a 2 year strategy, getting one top free agent in 2010, and landing another big fish in 2011(Carmelo Anthony).

    While Johnson, would be a let down, he would still be the best player(by a significant margin) that we have had since the Jordan era.

    If we don't get Lebron, we have to sign somebody this offseason, Johnson, Like everybody else is simply a fallback, and he is much better than Ron Mercer ever was even in his own wildest wet dream.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    You swapped the b-days btw....dwayne wade is jan 82

  • I had totally forgot about that. I'd pass on him for the max unless it was short term. I still think he'd be a near perfect fit for what we have (Rose) and what we need (a big 2 that can shoot it)

  • Perhaps you're right about the true value, but it's an albatross and the main reason we might get left out of all the free agent fun.

    I doubt Deng makes it through the full season. Now he's grimacing about his shoulder.

  • I really dont see the Bulls getting any one of them....Bron,Bosh or Wade...IMO Wade will just bring someone to Miami before he up and leaves for Chicago...the guy has plenty of money to come back home and visit...he has it made in Miami. I can see Bosh going to Miami...Bron staying and the Bulls going after Amare and/or Joe Johnson. David Lee has a constallation prize.

  • I don't know about being scared of Bosh. He's only 26 and just coming into his prime, with no history of any really bad injuries. If he has a year like he's having this year when he's on a good team he's a MVP candidate.

  • I meant this season, neither Shaq nor Garnett are worth the max anymore. If anything Garnett is an example that even being a past MVP doesn't mean you'll still be worth it far into your 30s, he's 33 now and hasn't been worth the max the past two years.

  • And it will make everyone who delights in complaining how cheap JR is happy too.

Leave a comment