At 39 years outdated, Joe Johnson may not have performed his final NBA recreation.
The Milwaukee Bucks plan to work out Johnson, the web site HoopsHype reported, to find out if the staff needs to have him fill its at the moment open roster spot.
“Joe should be with an NBA team,” mentioned Darrell Walker, a long-time NBA participant and coach who’s now coach on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. “He’s nonetheless expert sufficient to play 15, 16 minutes a recreation for anyone.
“What the Milwaukee Bucks will be adding if they sign Joe is a Hall of Fame player. Joe Johnson is a Hall of Famer. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it.”
Walker was speaking concerning the Naismith Hall of Fame — the top for any basketball coach or participant — however tonight Johnson shall be inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in his hometown of Little Rock.
“I fell in love with the game when I was 6 or 7 years old, playing at the Thrasher Boys and Girls Club in Little Rock,” Johnson mentioned final summer season.
Johnson went on to star at Little Rock Central High School and performed two seasons on the University of Arkansas earlier than coming into the 2001 NBA Draft. The Boston Celtics drafted the 6-7 Johnson with the tenth total decide.
Over the following 17 seasons Johnson performed in 1,276 regular-season video games — thirty first on the NBA’s all-time checklist — with the Celtics, Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets.
Johnson’s 20,405 factors rank forty fourth on the all-time NBA checklist. His 1,978 three-point baskets rank thirteenth.
For his profession Johnson has averages of 16.0 factors, 4.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 34.7 minutes. He shot 44.1% from the sphere, 37.1% on three-pointers on 80.2% on free throws.
Johnson additionally has appeared in 120 playoff video games, averaging 15.2 factors, 4.2 rebounds and three.1 assists.
A seven-time All-Star throughout an eight-year span with Atlanta between the 2006-07 and 2013-14 seasons, Johnson averaged 20.2 or extra factors in 5 consecutive seasons, with a career-high of 25.0 in 2006-07.
“I’m so proud and so happy for all the accomplishments that Joe has been able to reach,” mentioned Nolan Richardson, who coached Johnson at Arkansas. “I bear in mind when he was a younger boy, 13 or 14 years outdated, and I first noticed him when he got here to my basketball camps.
“Now to know that he’s a Hall of Famer for the state of Arkansas, it’s so great to see.”
Richardson, an Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame member inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2014, mentioned Johnson ought to be part of him in that honor as properly.
“Joe is heading to the Naismith Hall of Fame,” Richardson mentioned. “He’s got the credentials. He’s had a phenomenal career.”
Johnson hasn’t performed within the NBA for the reason that 2017-18 season, when he appeared in 36 regular-season and eight playoff video games for Houston. In September of 2019 the Detroit Pistons signed Johnson, however he was launched earlier than the season.
But Johnson has continued to play basketball.
In February Johnson performed for Team USA within the FIBA AmeriCup Qualifying Tournament in Puerto Rico. In two video games he averaged 11.0 factors and team-highs of 9.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 26.0 minutes to assist Team USA beat the Bahamas 93-77 and Mexico 95-76.
“I think it is more gratifying at this stage and point in my life,” Johnson advised author Steve Drumwright in an article that appeared on USA Basketball’s web site. “I’ve been out of skilled basketball for over a 12 months now, however I hold myself in nice form.
“I’m in the gym every day, and I train like a pro. When [USA Basketball] called and I got this opportunity, there was no way I would turn it down.”
Prior to Johnson’s second stint with Team USA — his first time was in 2006 — he performed in The Basketball Tournament (TBT) for Overseas Elite final summer season and performed within the BIG3 3-on-3 League in 2019 and led his staff, the Triplets, to the championship and earned MVP honors.
“You get one body, and you’ve got to take care of it,” Johnson mentioned final summer season. “That’s your temple.
“Right now I’m in some of one of the best form I’ve ever been in. I watch what I eat. I do so much of sizzling yoga, which is so detoxifying for your physique, so good for your muscle tissue and joints and bones.
“I know I can’t give that up, and that’s definitely what’s helped keep me going over the years. Especially these later years.”
Walker mentioned he noticed Johnson figuring out at a gymnasium in Little Rock a few month in the past.
“Joe is in great shape,” Walker mentioned. “He works on his physique on a regular basis. That’s why he’s by no means actually had any main accidents.
“Hopefully the Milwaukee Bucks do pick him up. That would be great.”
Former Razorback Ronnie Brewer performed within the NBA from the 2006-07 by means of the 2013-14 seasons and guarded Johnson in his prime.
“The reason Joe was so good offensively was his versatility,” Brewer mentioned. “He might shoot the ball from the three-point line. He might shot faux and hit pull-ups. His dribble drive was nice. When you fouled him, he knocked down his free throws.
“With his dimension, he might again down and put up up most all people and shoot excessive of them. That’s what received him that nickname ‘Iso Joe.’
“He had so many mismatches he might create. He was larger than guards who tried to cowl him, and for those who put larger guys on him, he was fast sufficient to get round them.
“He might deal with the ball rather well, he might facilitate for others. He was so clutch in these large moments when his staff wanted him to hit a shot.
“Joe really had no flaws in his game.”
Johnson averaged 15.0 factors, 6.1 rebounds and a couple of.4 assists in two seasons at Arkansas. He led the Razorbacks to 2 NCAA Tournament appearances and their solely SEC Tournament championship in 2000 as a freshman.
“Joe was the name of the game for us,” Richardson mentioned. “Loads of individuals are rated on how good they’re, however Joe made different guys round him higher as properly. When you’ve received a man like that, it makes him a very completely different ballplayer.
“Even although Joe’s particular person acts are what folks bear in mind — how he scored and the massive photographs he hit — how about all of the occasions that he set up different guys that gave us alternatives to win video games?
“Joe was one of one of the best passers I ever coached. He might shoot the ball, however he might create for others, too. He’d take off and the protection must converge on him, after which he’d get the ball to a wide-open teammate.
“That’s what makes a player great, when he makes others around him better. That’s what Joe always has done.”
Brewer mentioned he was impressed watching video of Johnson enjoying for Team USA.
“It’s a true testament to Joe’s hard work and dedication to still be in great shape and on top of his game at age 39,” Brewer mentioned. “It reveals a lot about his work ethic and figuring out what it takes to be a real skilled and proceed to work at your craft.
“Most folks at that age, their physique is breaking down they usually’re injury-prone. But you continue to see Joe going extraordinarily onerous and having one thing left within the tank.
“His love for the game shows, because he still wants to play to this day.”