I know there have been posts about Joe Johnson and speculation about where he might sign and for how much. I don't necessarily want to yap about that all that much, but I have a couple questions about it, now that Atlanta has been officially embarassed out of the playoffs. Are there things to be learned from that series? Of course. Could it be helpful to the Knicks in the offseason that Atlanta is now in dissaray? Maybe. There look to be a lot of changes coming.
So the Hawks were just entirely shredded, picked apart to the bone and left to decompose. Swept by the Magic (who have been playing championship ball) with a 101 pt differential over 4 games (and NBA record) and average win margin of 25.3pts. Wow. The first obvious question is certainly going to be pointed at Joe Johnson. People want to know what happened to Joe Johnson who is considered in the top tier of the FA class this summer. With the way he played against Orlando, the whispering already seems to be that his price is dropping dramatically. Before the playoffs, Joe Johnson said he wanted to show everyone that he could carry his team.
12.7 ppg, 3.7 ass, 4.5 reb, .299 FG%, .177 3PT%, .737 FT% and an avg +\- of -18.
Smith: 15.7 ppg, 7.7 reb, 1.75 stl, .441 FG%, .612 FT% +\- -22.5
Crawford: 17.0 ppg, 2.25 reb, 2.5 ass, .334 FG, .400 3PT, .828 FT, +\- -12.7
That is not the mark of a guy you pay top dollar to. Crawford was the best player for Atlanta and Johnson was arguably 3rd best. I know it is only one series, but that is the last impression he leaves with the GMs of the league. The question seems now... do you believe this is what Joe Johnson brings to his next team or is this part of a team-wide meltdown? The Hawks did not seem like a group in the series as much as 5 individuals doing their own thing. They defended poorly, shot poorly, put up little fight and just got beat up in every aspect of the game.
I might argue that Woodson blew it and couldn't bring his team together and coach them to a win. Motivation comes from the players, but coaches certainly help. Atlanta was hardly ever even in position to make a comeback. NOBODY stepped up. It's like they knew Orlando was the better team and they were okay with that.
What do you guys think happens next for Atlanta though? Woodson is part of the rumors with Larry Brown going to Philly. Should he part with Atlanta, does that signal Atlanta blowing up their team and not resigning Joe Johnson?
Does Atlanta decide that Joe Johnson is NOT the guy who can lead them deep in the playoffs and let him walk?
Do the Hawks shrug their shoulders and consider this a fluke and change nothing for next year? They bring back Johnson like they have said?
Is Atlanta's problem a coaching issue or a player issue?
Does this make New York more weary of spending big money (he is arguably a guy people have predicted to sign close to a max deal) on Joe Johnson? What if we can sign him for $7-$8Mil a year?
Do we even WANT Joe Johnson??
Is the Hawks 1st round draft pick still on the table?
I think his price tag may have certainly dipped, and while I am not an advocate of Joe Johnson in a Knicks uniform, I would certainly welcome him if he came on the cheap. The guy is an excellent player, but in NY I wouldn't want him to be our #1 option. I think our team would look very intriguing with Joe Johnson on it, but I feel like he commands a lot of shots. And I believe that if we had Johnson, as well as another big name player, I might wonder if there are enough shots to go around to keep Gallo involved. I'm not convinced Joe Johnson can be that leader who helps guys like Gallo grow. I feel like Johnson is a more efficient Al Harrington (shooting-wise). Of course he also rebounds and drops dimes when needed, but can Joe Johnson run the offense like a PG? Should he? Assuming we are able to resign David Lee and sign Johnson for under $9 Mil/year, would that attract a Lebron James and is that enough to solidify the Knicks? I'm also assuming we draft a center with potential (seems like there will be guys out there). I'm not sure this is financially possible, and well, the chance of signing Joe Johnson as cheap as i make it is very slim at best. But let's go with it for now.
Why should this NOT work.