The expectations for Ivan are simply to be the baddest man on the planet. Okay that’s a slight exaggeration. Ivan was expected to bring intensity every minute he’s on the floor. To fear no one and to every dirty job that needs doing.
Not easy to use stats to evaluate someone with those expectations, but Ivan slightly improved on many stats except for minutes per game. The minutes per game drop was not unexpected because of a better bench this year, a healthy Horford combined with 2/3 of a season for Pachulia, and his visits to the doghouse. Ivan Johnson is one of those players that is hard to evaluate objectively. Much like Zaza his tough demeanor and willingness to play all out makes it easy to overlook any shortcomings in his game.
On January 23rd at Charlotte the Hawks were without the services of Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia. Who did Larry Drew turn to as starting center? 6’8" Ivan Johnson got the start and played about 32 minutes. What stands out to me is that Ivan dominated the glass racking up 15 boards helping the Hawks to a 12 point win. It was the embodiment of the old saying "it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog."
Ivan Johnson is still restricted with a 1.2M qualifying offer, but it’s doubtful that the Hawks have to worry about matching an offer. Ivan’s reputation around the league as a hothead likely scares off most suitors and others just may not appreciate his game because it doesn’t translate well into stats. The coaching hire could affect Ivan’s standing with the Hawks especially if the new coach has a dirty work vet with which they are already comfortable. I think if Ivan makes it to camp he’ll be a hard man to beat out for a job.