The Brooklyn Nets waived veteran forward James Johnson after 62 games with the team. The Golden State Warriors should be interested in signing the big man to help prepare for what’s expected to be a deep playoff run.
Johnson has been solid all season, posting a stat line of 5.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game in limited playing time. While his offensive stats don’t stand out in any way, especially since he only shoots around 47% from the field, his defense does.
The Golden State Warriors may need depth in their frontcourt this postseason, and one name to keep an eye on is former Nets’ forward James Johnson.
Johnson has developed a reputation for being aggressive and incredibly physical on defense. He has the ability to affect a play on defense in numerous different ways, including averaging around a block and a steal per game for his career.
The second-level black belt has also never strayed away from on-court altercations. He has always been there to support his teammates when another player gets in their face.
This would add another level of toughness to the Warriors roster. Currently, they only have Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, and Gary Payton II as big defensive pieces.
While other players may also be great defenders, none have the experience or tenacity that Johnson brings to the table. The Warriors could seamlessly use him in a small-ball lineup, as he is a respectable three-point shooter and is also capable in the post at 6-foot-7.
A realistic lineup including Johnson could look like Stephen Curry running the point, Klay Thompson at the two, Andrew Wiggins at small forward, Draymond Green running the power forward positions, and James Johnson playing at center.
That lineup would provide a new variety to head coach Steve Kerr’s already versatile lineup, being more than capable on both ends of the floor. This could potentially be one that Kerr could lean on in the playoffs against smaller teams (or when Nikola Jokic and Karl-Anthony Towns aren’t playing.)
James Johnson could also be used at the power forward to add more experience to a Warriors roster featuring multiple players making their playoff debut this season.
The Warriors’ frontcourt depth has been in question all season. Jonathan Kuminga, Otto Porter, and Nemaja Bjelica are the only players who get consistent minutes off the bench for Green and Looney, though all three of them are either undersized or inexperienced.
Johnson would bring in plenty of experience, currently in his thirteenth NBA season, and has played both forward positions and center for extensive periods of time throughout his career.
Though the Warriors still have not cleared up a roster spot to make room for another player, whether it be Johnson, or another player they have their eyes on, it still remains possible that they clear up a spot.
The most likely way this happens would be if the Warriors were able to get a roster space offered by the NBA due to the lack of James Wiseman this season.
It is doubtful at best to say the Warriors would waive a player currently on the roster due to family ties or team ties to even the worst players on the lineup, although if a player like Juan Toscano-Anderson isn’t in their playoff rotation, it could make sense.
If the Warriors are somehow able to pull this signing off, it will make them more difficult to beat in the playoffs and could potentially help lead to banner number seven.