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James Johnson: matchup defender

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  • James Johnson: matchup defender

    Hey, this is a thread I'm starting thinking about nightmare matchups that usually plague us, and the intrigue of Johnson as a defensive gamer. With Dallas coming up, I'm not going to dwell on the obvious. I imagine Bargnani, Amir and Ed will guard Dirk for most or all of the game. I did remember that they also acquired Odom, who always is a matchup nightmare, even against us usually going back to the Bosh days. Our bigs can never guard him from the perimeter, few people have guys who can. BUT! James Johnson is long, athletic, recovers well and might be strong enough to guard a non-traditional big like Odom. Could he neutralize a guy like Odom? Especially if they're both coming in off the bench? We clearly have no one else who matches up very well against him. It's exactly the type of matchup that Amir tends to get silly fouls like reaching in. Ed is definitely not ideal as he's more of a post player. Bargnani might get minutes against him, but there's no way he can go against him for a lot of the game.

    Anyway, thoughts? And also, thoughts of any other players that make you wonder about James' defensive potential? Obviously we want him to guard 3s....but the strength of a guy his size is the potential to use him on some 4s, maybe some 2s occasionally...It would be nice if he could become a 3 position defender.

    I also want to emphasize I'm not saying he's a savior or anything, and I'm not going to discuss his very flawed offensive game. This is just about his potential as a defensive specialist capable of matching up against a variety of guys.