I believe that Zach Lowe has put together a pretty good list of the top 100 NBA players over at The Point Forward and his selection of Joe Johnson at No. 32 might be the most controversial ranking as of yet. In a lot of ways I believe Lowe is giving a lot of respect to Johnson's career in Atlanta and is not weighing it significantly on last season. Also you have to point out that his list does not take into account salary numbers at all. Still Johnson's PER was nearly three full points worse than Josh Smith's last season and yet it is Johnson who appears two spots ahead of Smith.
Johnson looks better on a micro-level than he does in the big picture, and it’s easy to be seduced by a really nice possession on national TV. The Atlanta offense could distribute its possessions better, but I’m not sure there’s a better No. 1 on this team. Plus/minus systems, both raw and adjusted, really like him, which suggests there is still something positive happening when he’s on the floor. (Note: It could also suggest the Hawks can’t build a functional bench given what they are paying Johnson and the team’s refusal to go over the luxury tax.)
I think it is safe to say that when the NBA does emerge from the lockout that they will see a better season from Johnson who struggled with injuries last season. The biggest question is for how much longer. Lowe points out that many of the young players like Stephen Curry and Tyreke Evans are likely to pass Johnson by in next year's rankings. While Johnson's contract might not factor into Lowe's rankings, the Hawks aren't afforded that luxury.