The first half of the 2018-19 season is in the books for the Miami Heat, and James Johnson faces the unenviable task of guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo again as the team squares off against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.
Doing the dirty work may not grab the headlines, but the Heat missed Johnson when he wasn’t available to begin the season, as the player’s won-lost records for the first 41 games indicate.
Miami Heat players won-lost record
|Derrick Jones Jr.||15||15||2.5||15.7|
Of the players that were in a minimum of 5 games, Miami won 15 of the 25 games James Johnson played in and lost 10 of the 16 he missed.
His net rating of -6.4 makes Johnson seem like a liability on the court, but when he’s tasked with preventing MVP-caliber players like Antetokounmpo, LeBron James or Anthony Davis from creating mayhem, then the won-lost numbers seem to make sense from the team’s perspective.
Individually he may not always best his man, but simply containing them so the other Heat players can do their jobs deserves some credit.
His ferocious dunks get much deserved attention, yet the team’s 6-10 record without Johnson in the game shows how much more he contributes on the other end of the court.
The ESPN analysts commented during the Boston Celtics versus Heat game how the Celtics with Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, lacked low usage players who did the “dirty work” out of the spotlight.
Luckily Miami has men like James Johnson and Rodney McGruder, and now also Derrick Jones Jr. along Bam Adebayo, who ply their craft without the ball in their hands to help win games for Miami fans.