Veteran shooting guard Joe Johnson has agreed to join the Huston Rockets until the end of the season, after being waived by the Sacramento Kings. Johnson was acquired by the Kings in a three-team trade on February 8th, but failed to play in the single game for the franchise. He was quickly snapped up by the Rockets, making a 31 minute cameo appearance in yesterday’s 100-91 victory over his former team.
It’s been a difficult year for Joe Johnson. The 36-year-old has struggled to find consistent form since suffering a wrist injury in the early stages of the season, and has averaged just 7.3 points per game over 32 appearances in 2017/18. Despite this, Johnson still has plenty to offer at the Huston Rockets, with the franchise hoping for a positive run in the postseason.
While the Rockets may not have found a long term prospect to strengthen their offensive record, in Johnson they have a seven time all-star who has played 17 seasons in the NBA. The Little Rock native has averaged 20 points per game over five seasons, and ranks 10th in the list of all time three pointers leaders with 1,962. Johnson’s wealth of experience would be hugely beneficial to any NBA franchise, with the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics both understood to be interested in his services. Sure, Johnson is not the player he once was, but having a tried and tested scorer on the bench could be the missing piece of the puzzle for Huston.
Whether Johnson can provide the offensive impetus that Huston are banking on remains to be seen, but coach Mike D’Antoni has been quick to sing his praises: “Joe’s going to fit in great,” D’Antoni said. “He’s going to be really good, smooth … he can make plays. He’s got some gas left.”
Johnson provided two free throws in Huston’s win over the Kings yesterday, finishing the game with nine points and three rebounds to his name.
D’Antoni said of the performance: “We didn’t have that energy and you could just see it,”
“But they have the confidence that they can get it done defensively or by any means, and we just finished it up. Not a whole lot to say other than workmanship.”