Brooklyn Nets: Joe Johnson is the X-factor


Now that Joe Johnson has reached the age of 34, it has become clear that his athleticism and explosion are a shell of what they used to be. He is not succeeding when creating his own shot, and he has been unable to make the athletic plays that he used to. Above that, his defense has suffered when guarding wing players, and the Nets have been unable to stop opposing offenses. However, this is not to say that Johnson cannot turn it around. If Johnson is able to start accepting his age and adapt to his new limitations, the Nets could become a better team right away.

Sep 28, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Johnson (7) poses for a photo during media day at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

So far this season, Johnson has averaged nearly 10 field goal attempts per game while shooting at 31% from the field. He has a mere 7.7 points per game. If this continues, Johnson is on his way to the worst season of his career. However, the main issue so far has been shot selection. On numerous occasions in the first few games, Johnson attempted a crossover stepback jumper, a shot he used to be able to hit. However, without his explosion, he could not create the separation needed to get a clean look. Johnson needs to finetune this part of his game. One of the possibilities could be using screens to gain more separation. Johnson still has a nice jumper, but if he cannot get open looks, he will not make the majority of him. Using Brook Lopez as a screener could get Johnson more open looks.

There have also been plays this season where Joe Johnson has attempted to penetrate and get to the rim. Instead, he has gotten very few clean layups, and he has not been able to finish. It is obvious that his slashing abilities have declined dramatically. Unfortunately, there is not a good way to fix this. Therefore, if Johnson wants to succeed, he must abandon his attempts to drive to the hoop. In an ideal situation, Johnson would not be taking 10 shots per game. Johnson needs to stop trying to score off the dribble, and he must develop a better catch and shoot game. These attempts to finish at the rim have been subpar, and because of this, Johnson’s efficiency so far this season has been abysmal (7.0 PER). Johnson needs to accept his limitations and take better shots.

Overall, if Joe Johnson can get his act together, the Nets will be a better team. However, if Johnson continues to struggle, the Nets will have a hard time beating tougher opponents. Johnson has the capabilities to be a solid veteran role player, but he must come to terms with his age first. If he can start performing at a high level, he will be the x-factor as the Nets try to reach the playoffs this season.

More from Nothin' But Nets