Meet the Nets’ lone all-star, Joe Johnson.
Not everyone was pleased with the choice, as Johnson was selected to the squad for the seventh time. His numbers—15.6 points per game, 3.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists—aren’t anything to get crazy about. But it hasn’t been all about the numbers for Johnson this season.
The Nets struggled mightily the first two months of the season. Yes, Johnson was a regular during those eight-plus weeks, and he was a part of a Nets team that began the season with a 4-14 record. But look beyond the numbers. Johnson, who has played in 44 of the Nets’ 46 games through Monday’s 108-102 win over the 76ers, is the one player Jason Kidd has been able to count on all season. Only reserves Alan Anderson (45) and Shaun Livingston (45) have played in more games than Johnson.
Johnson was the chief catalyst during the Nets’ January surge as the squad finished 10-3. He hit a shot at the buzzer to beat Oklahoma City on Jan. 2; he had 27 and 32 points in consecutive home wins over Golden State and Miami, respectively; and he combined for 54 points in wins over the Hawks and Knicks.
Win or lose, Johnson’s demeanor rarely changes. Even after hitting 10 3-pointers and scoring 37 points in a 130-94 win over the 76ers on Dec. 16, it was hard to get Johnson to talk a lot about himself. In a typically understated manner, Johnson took his selection in stride and tweeted: “[I’m] very honored to be selected to the NBA All-Star [Game].”
Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (16.8 points per game, 7.6 assists) and even Pacers guard and former Lincoln High School star Lance Stephenson (14.2 points per game, 5.4 assists, 7.2 rebounds) were among players some believed were snubbed. Considering the strong season Toronto has had, it’s understandable if people are upset with Lowry’s snub. The same goes for Stephenson, who leads the NBA in triple doubles.
The NBA’s All-Star selection process is imperfect, so someone will always be left standing. Fortunately for Johnson, he found a chair after the music stopped.