If you would have told me in September that one of Miami’s most essential pieces in a tight postseason race would be James Johnson, I would have balked. Yet, in a spectacular career renaissance not only has James Johnson made a case for being the most improved player in the NBA, but he’s become one of Miami’s most threatening players.
Until last night against the Charlotte Hornets, James Johnson’s role was clear. He was to pair with Tyler Johnson and provide needed energy and a scoring boost to the reserve unit. Of course, “The Brothers Johnson” both performed admirably in that role taking teams by storm and displaying phenomenal chemistry. Nevertheless, with the Dion Waiters injury, James Johnson’s injection into the starting lineup was a long time coming and the result was amazing.
Johnson finished yesterday’s contest having played 32 minutes, scoring 26 points, hitting 6 threes, grabbing 4 boards, dishing out 3 assists and getting 2 steals all while shooting 83% from the field! He added great floor spacing, and became a much needed scoring threat.
James Johnson is a swiss army knife, and as a result can play off any of his teammates incredibly well. What’s most interesting about Johnson, is that he seems to be getting better. He is able to contribute in multiple statistical categories each night, but does so consistently. It’s incredible to watch as once upon a time you never knew what to expect with Johnson.
Johnson’s addition to the starting lineup was many games too late, but it has come at a very important time for the Heat. While, it’s impossible to believe that he’ll be able to deliver godly stat lines each night it is believable that in 30+ minutes a night he’ll be a spectacular contributor. When Dion Waiters returns, the starting lineup will likely be adjusted, but that’s only if the Heat sneak into the postseason. With that being said, the Heat need to win now and one of their best bets is in James Johnson.