The Value of Joe Johnson

Last night was a sensational night to be a Nets fan. Down 3 at the end of the fourth, Joe Johnson hit a game tying 3 to force overtime. Then he hit a buzzer beater in overtime to win the game.

And yet, you hear the same refrains about Joe this season from much of the media. He is overrated, overpaid. He is having a down year, not shooting well, posting a low PER. The common Net fan retort are his clutch shots.

Now, I present you with another comeback. Not only do we know Joe Johnson is good, but the stats indeed back it up.

For the season, the Nets are +30 as a team over 2,627 minutes this season. Joe has played 2,054 of those minutes and his Nets are +173 over those minutes. The same Nets are -143 in 573 minutes without Joe. That makes the Nets about +4.04 over 48 with Joe in the lineup, and -7.38 points over 48 without Joe. To compare to his teammates, Brook is second on the team at +126, Wallace third at just +32. Deron Williams? -15 on the season.

Where the team struggles without Joe is offensively. The Nets offensive rating this season with Joe on court is 107.1, but falls to 92.6 with Joe off court. The significance of those numbers? A 107.1 rating would be good for 5th in the league this season. 92.6? Dead last at 30th and well behind last place Washington at 95.3.

It’s easy to see why the Nets offense is so much better with Joe on the floor. He can score, yet is a willing and able passer. When he draws double teams, he gets rhythm jumpers for guys like Bogans and Watson instead of contested forces. He helps Brook by getting him single coverage on the move instead of double coverage at a standstill.

So the next time someone tells you Joe Johnson is not that good, just remind them. The Nets on court and off court splits when Johnson plays and sits are staggering. He has a huge impact on the Nets and is a significant contributor to their 32 wins thus far.

And it goes so much further than game winners.

Statistical support provided from NBA.com’s fantastic advanced stats tools.

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