From Atlanta's own Mr. Hollinger, from his Insider required PER Diem series, he ranks the offseason signings which, of course featured the extravagant extension of one Mr. Joe Johnson.
Hollinger ranks them into seven groups, ranking by PER, and the good news is that Joe doesn't land in Group seven, inhabited by only the weirdest of off season deals, the Timberwolves locking in of Darko Milicic.
He did, however, land in Group three, which is defined thusly:
Group III: Somewhat disappointing so far
You'll notice that only seven of our 23 long-term deals landed in the "good news" category, and one of them (Johnson) comes with a giant asterisk. That's impressively depressing.
As for Group III, there's still time. It consists of two players who signed big-money deals and haven't really justified the payday yet. It's not that they've been bad ... it's more that they've been only OK when they're getting paid to be fantastic.
That Johnson mentioned parenthetically was not Joe, but rather Amir, so Joe did not land in what John defines as "good news". Instead, Johnson is listed here, where his salary calls for "fantastic", but his performance has been "OK". The other player in the Group three condo? Chris Bosh.
Still here is John's take on Joe thus far:
Joe Johnson, Atlanta (16.69). It's not exactly a $120 million start, although he did score 34 points in Sunday night's loss to Phoenix.
As our resident ATLien, I can tell you the serious worrying shouldn't begin until next month, and here's why: Johnson has normally posted a solid November before blowing up in December, which has easily been his best month as a Hawk. If he doesn't blast off before Christmas, get nervous.
The second Joe signed his massive extension, against the long term desires of the most feverish of Bird Watchers, the clock was ticking on his value to the team. Everyone knows he won't "earn" his salary for all (6) years of his new deal, but the hope is that his peak will extend to at least half of it, even though most feel as if it had already started to decline last year.
Comparisons such as Hollinger's is only the beginning for Joe, until such time as his value drops to such a level that his contract is cartoonish in comparison to what he is actually able to contribute.