If you go to Hawks games at Philips and get there for the pregame warm-ups (which means I may literally only be talking to the people who read this blog and John Hollinger), you know that Mario West guards Joe Johnson as Joe heaves jumpers from all over the floor. Mario does not shoot. He does not stretch. He does not say hello to the refs or an opposing player. He contests jump shots. Naturally, Joe Johnson would not have it any other way. Contested jumpers are Joe's safe place. "Tough shots" are his wheel house. A hand in his face is his open look. And Mario provides all of this. He guards Joe like he is not trying because it warmups but he is Mario West so of course he is trying. It all leads to Joe Johnson preparing for the game on a diet of contested jumpers. Does anything make more sense than that?
Of course, Mario did not make the team to start the season. He was signed Jan. 10th. Joe had no one with a hand in his face except for the apparently never gets old swat from behind from Mike Bibby (seriously, this always makes NBA players laugh). It was a big deal. He shot open jumpers for the better part of two months. Any other all-star in the league not practicing his go to move? I think not. So I decided to dig deep, check out the stats.See how this late addition to the Hawks roster has affected Joe's shooting.
And it could not be more clear. (Well it could be, these two things could actually be related. That would make it more clear.)
Pre-Mario, Joe Johnson made 291 of 644 shots so shooting 45.1% from the floor.
Post-Mario, Joe has put in 209 of 430 shots for a shooting percentage of 48.6%.
And people say Mario West is a waste of a roster spot.....