The 2010 NBA playoffs have been a rough time for free-agent-to-be Joe Johnson.
In the first round, his Atlanta Hawks struggled mightily against the Andrew Bogut-less Milwaukee Bucks. And now, in the second round, they’re on the verge of being swept by the Orlando Magic.
And it hasn’t been close.
After Orlando’s Game 3 victory — a 105-75 blowout in Atlanta — the Magic have compiled the second-highest scoring differential through the first three games of an NBA playoff series (+29.0 PPG). During that beating, Johnson scored only 8 points on 3-for-15 shooting.
During the regular season, Johnson averaged 21.3 PPG on 46 percent shooting. During the playoffs, his scoring average has slipped (18.3) while his shooting percentage has plummetted (39 percent).
In his last six playoff games, Joe’s averaging 13.3 points on 31 percent shooting. Against the Magic, he’s averaging just 12.3 points on 29 percent shooting. For somebody who will probably be seeking a max contract in July, this is nothing short of a complete meltdown.
Said Johnson: “Guys look to me for guidance. When I’m playing like that, it’s almost impossible for us to win.”
To make matters worse, ESPN’s John Hollinger noted that Atlanta’s “iso-Joe” offense — which led to some solid offensive efficiency during the regular season — appears doomed to failure in the playoffs.
I’m not saying Johnson isn’t a good player. However, his team — which won 53 games this season and is loaded with talent — has really struggled on the offensive end during the postseason…and much of that has been because Johnson has struggled.
That’s not necessarily a slight on him. The playoffs can be tough. Frankly, I’m more concerned that Joe’s numbers — which are pretty good — aren’t better considering the high number of touches and isolations that get run for him in Atlanta. Sure, Dwyane Wade dominates the ball, but he puts up superduperstar numbers. Johnson dominates the ball and puts up lower tier All-Star numbers.
Just something to think about.