Joe Johnson is good.
In a season in which we hearty few Hawks fans have spent most of our verbiage moaning about taking Marvin Williams over Chris Paul or complaining that we overpaid for Johnson, in light of Boris Diaw's excellent performances for Phoenix and the fact that we're probably going to end up surrendering a lottery pick in a loaded 2007 Draft, it's good to take a step back sometimes and admire the fact that Billy Knight did identify Johnson's potential correctly. Here's Joe's stat line from yesterday's win over Orlando:
40 points on 17/24 shooting, three rebounds, 11 assists, and no turnovers.
The only complaints I could possibly make about Joe's otherwise sterling performance are that he only shot two free throws and that he missed the winning shot at the end of overtime, although his penetration left Zaza with a wide open path to the basket to tip in the winning points. Otherwise, yesterday's performance was an absolute gem. I went to the game with my brother Dan and spent a good chunk of the 4th quarter discussing this article from 82games.com, which was vindicating for us since neither of us like Vince Carter or Kobe and the stats make them look bad. Sure enough, Joe had the ball in his hands at the end of regulation and did the smart thing, drawing the defense and then kicking the ball to Al Harrington, who missed a wide open look for the win. Harrington missed two potential game-winning shots off of good feeds from Johnson in the space of a week, yesterday against Orlando and Monday night against Milwaukee.
Overall, the team is a disappointing 3-6 in March, so it looks like they've failed to build on their solid 6-6 February. The Hawks have been in every game, so it isn't as if they aren't competitive, but as Sean Connery helpfully pointed out in The Rock, losers always whine about doing their best; winners go home and f*** the prom queen. The team hasn't gotten much from Johnson and Harrington's supporting cast, other than Josh Smith, who has been playing well for an extended period of time. The Hawks being the Hawks, his emergence in his sophomore year leads to this question: if the team does get a point guard and then slot Joe Johnson in at the two, then can they play Smith or Marvin Williams at the four? Are Smith and Williams redundant at the three? Oh no, I've gone cross-eyed.