Well if Joe Johnson wants to continue in the league long after the buzz dies down on his famous contract, and he wants to do it in coaching, I think we may understand his strategy towards playing time, especially as it relates to the young stars on his theoretical team.
From the AJC:
Joe: "When you've got a guy rolling like that. . . . He can handle it. He's only 24, 25 (actually 26). He's got some mileage left. Ride him until the wheels fall off. We've got two days off. He can rest tomorrow. I definitely wasn't going to let coach take him out of the game, whether I had to sit down or not."
You know, they say how someone is treated when they're young is how they'll treat others when they get older.
Hmmm -- What were Joe's Minutes per game when he was 24, 25 (actually 26)?
Per Basketball-Reference (league ranking in parenthesis):
2005-06 NBA 40.7 (6)
2006-07 NBA 41.4 (2)
2007-08 NBA 40.8 (2)
2008-09 NBA 39.5 (3)
(I stuck Age 27 on there in case you were more loose about how "young" is defined. )
Easy to see why Joe has a liberal feeling towards usage. Exactly when Joe's wheels fell off is subject to debate, though its interesting to see the give and take between Joe and Larry Drew on this -- wonder how this has manifested itself in other areas, such as:
- Drew's "flex" offense
- Playing time for Jeff Teague
- Dinner menu on team flights
- Choice of board games in the team hotel
- Use of whistle vs hand claps at practice
I've always seen Joe as a Monopoly guy and I can see him inserting himself into the discussion if Drew were about to break out "Clue".
Still, it's easy to see that Joe, should he ever get the desire and opportunity to have the job Larry Drew has at any level, would be ready, willing and able to run his main players, until their own personal wheels fell off.
Hey, they're young, right?
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