Harsh words about James Johnson’s play in the NBA Summer League

From TrueHoop’s Kevin Arnovitz: “James Johnson’s teammates spent a lot of time telling Chicago’s second-year forward where to set up offensively in the half court. When Johnson doesn’t have the ball in his hands, he floats purposelessly around the floor. Should he work off the ball to elude his man? Should he go to the ball? Often, Johnson has no idea. On the positive side, Johnson has some impressive ball skills. He has the handle and agility to find seams to the basket — and the strength to finish. Unfortunately, he doesn’t display the desire or wherewithal to make a play when he encounters heavy traffic.”

Hopefully, some of these problems can be solved by some competent coaching by Tom Thibodeau. That said, I always get a nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach about guys who aren’t active and aware when they don’t have their mitts on the ball.

44 Responses to Harsh words about James Johnson’s play in the NBA Summer League

  1. doubleaccord@gmail.com'
    Tony C. July 14, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    This is precisely the sort of issue that Thibodeau is likely to be helpful with. Not that even a superior coach can turn an average player into a good one, but if JJ has the mental toughness and heart to take direction and improve his game, then I expect he could develop into a very useful player.

  2. tdonahue55@comcast.net'
    Tim Donahue July 14, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    Here’s a positive tweet from David Thorpe: http://twitter.com/coachthorpe/status/18463178345

  3. chicondo@hotmail.com'
    luvabullnj July 14, 2010 at 7:34 pm #

    How about T-Mac at two guard. Now that his price has dropped significantly, it is worth a shot.

    I totally don’t get the plan of signing two defensively challenged (Korver and Reddick) bench guys to fill the 2 guard slot. Especially since Korver is more of a SF than a SG. (Remember how the Salmons experiment at SG went!) Don’t get me wrong, I like both guys as off the bench 3-point shooters that the Bulls need so badly. But now that Korver is signed we should go after a defensive starter at SG, preferbly one that can make 3pointers in the mold of Ariza or Raja Bell.

    We also need a backup for Rose and I like either Flip Murry or Acie Law in that role.

  4. Trm378@gmail.com'
    Trm3 July 14, 2010 at 8:09 pm #

    This is a shock..not really. The guy was and is a turnover waiting to happen. He would either travel, carry the ball or charge into someone. The dude needs to get a clue.

  5. Steve July 14, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    No Flip or Acie for backup PG….i think both of the magic signings should have been our signings instead. Wed have a backup pg and starting SG (yes Qrich can guard other starting SGs and SFs in this league). Now I think they should just get Brewer whether or not they get Redick and front load his deal as well. Maybe shorten it.

  6. Steve July 14, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    In that scenario, we wouldnt have to rely on JJ for big minutes either since korver would be the backup SF. I think he still has a good shot to contribute this year. Also it will be interesting to se what they do with Derrick Byars.

  7. tcs10@cornell.edu'
    Tim Sharp July 14, 2010 at 9:45 pm #

    luvabullnj – How about T-Mac at two guard. Now that his price has dropped significantly, it is worth a shot.

    I totally don’t get the plan of signing two defensively challenged (Korver and Reddick) bench guys to fill the 2 guard slot. Especially since Korver is more of a SF than a SG. (Remember how the Salmons experiment at SG went!)
    so you dont like reddick/korver but you want T-MAC? and you want him for his D-fense? makes no sense…you need to re-watch last season and/or check out the real scouting reports on Reddick, he is an excellent defender now, Van Gundy doesnt give minutes to guys on the wing who cant play D.

    then you compare kyle korver to John Salmons? they are totally different players and again having size on the wings is becoming a must in the NBA…

    T-MAC didnt even get mins on the knicks last year you need to start watching the games so that you dont get carried away by “name recognition”

  8. svidahl@silverstar.com'
    WyomingBullsFan July 14, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    Johnson has all the athleticism in the world, but I think his entire basketball career up to this point he has been able to ride that and has never had to put much effort into the concepts of basketball. I got to watch him several times in high school and he was almost bored with the gap in athleticism and his coach pretty much let him do anything he wanted because it was like Teen Wolf out there.

    Well, now on the game’s highest level, that amazing set of physical gifts can only do so much. Unless James is willing to start buying into the fundementals of pro basketball, he’s just a tease like Tyrus right now.

  9. TexasBearsFan July 14, 2010 at 9:58 pm #

    It’s 2010, not 2005. T-Mac is not what we want. He’s 31 years old and has about a zillion miles on the tires. He’s played more than 70 games in a single season only once since 04-05. That’s not a good track record. His points per game have gone down every year since his 02-03 masterpiece. His steals per game have done the same. His rebounds per game have gone from somewhere around 6 or 7 per game to 3. He can’t shoot the 3-ball and never has. Yes, I know, he has a co-record for most threes in a half, but the fact is he’s never shot higher than 38% from downtown.

    With Deng and his injury concerns and Boozer and his injury concerns do we really want to add another starter who has severe injury concerns? Frankly, I’d rather start a young, healthy Reddick at SG than a brittle, twilight-of-his-career T-Mac, because, honestly, even if T-Mac is a good pick-up, he’ll be serviceable for a season, maybe 2 at the outside. He’s a player who built a career by being the most athletic player on the court. Now he’s in his 30’s and can’t play at the pace or with the athleticism that guys who are 5-10 years younger can.

    Let’s keep the youth movement. We’ve got a young, hungry core. We don’t need to clog things up with aging superstars who are long past their sell-by date.

  10. usmcroc22@msn.com'
    rocky July 14, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    Johnson spent the off-season getting conditioned. He never really got to play much last year and vinny was having him learn multiple positions as a rookie. I think Thib’s will give him a more defined role to focus on. Remember he’s only in his 2nd year.

  11. nj chitownfan July 14, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

    he is,eh hemmm, booty.. Thank you

  12. Blue Ballers July 15, 2010 at 3:41 am #

    Johnson is our new Tyrus Thomas.

  13. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath July 15, 2010 at 4:34 am #

    **** A vision ****

    James Johnson ultra-posterizes Amare and the Bulls-Knicks rivalry is reborn …!!!!!

    (Quick post to Boozer, bounces to his boy, Korver beyond the arc … Johnson fills the middle of the lane and catches Amare napping (again))))))

  14. chad July 15, 2010 at 5:35 am #

    JJ is crap, why do we not get any good defenders, all JJ can do is foul. remember a couple years ago people were wondering “hmm should they draft rose or beasley, you cant go wrong with either.” then beasley shows signs of being good, while having some problems and suddenly miami gives him up for a 2011 and 2014 second-round draft pick. He is still young with a lot of potential and Minnesota got him for nothing, why didn’t the Bulls offer Miami something for Beasley, it wouldnt have taken much to get him.

  15. joe.sez@gmail.com'
    joesez July 15, 2010 at 6:08 am #

    I can’t see how VDN is to blame for the guy’s attitude and this athletic guy was a high risk pick which why he was there at 16.

    James partied so hard last year it made the press. He clearly didn’t pay attention and wasn’t in NBA shape. Is that VDN fault. Nope. James was off the floor – VDN put out a message.

    Tom might get to him.

    James finally realizes he is closer to landing in the D league. Ask Bulls summer league play Morris Almond, former 25th pick.

  16. turk3665@yahoo.com'
    Jack Dunkulous July 15, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    JJ is not Tyrus. He is a hard worker and should find his niche once October rolls around. With his athletism he should be able to transcend into a shutdown defender on 2’s and 3’s. Coach T will do wonders with him. Did anyone notice what kind of defender Ray Allen has become over the last few years? He played Kobe as well as anyone I have ever seen.

    Drink the friggin Kool Aid JJ!!

  17. www.dipenpatel@bbth.com'
    BULL4EVER July 15, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    It’s time we Bulls fans start winning NBA titles year after year, since we have Boozer in the mix because a title-winning tradition like Chicago has always totally hated losing no matter what and mediocrity has always been totally unbefitting to an organization like this one.We want to win NBA titles year after year because just one postseason series win is a total disappointment since JORDAN,PIPPEN and MR ZEN MASTER PHIL left the Windy City. GO BULLS.

  18. Ryan July 15, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    JJ didn’t have the best game, but he looked better (except the weird-beard). He seemed to slow down a bit in traffic to get better looks, but still looks out of control sometimes. I’ve been hoping that Byars gets a chance to come up this year. I liked him last year too, but he has some issues with turning the ball over. Great size, good shot, and an ok defender for his age.

    I think JJ has something to prove to Lebron and the league this year after watching the highlight of LBJ dunking on his head for two months of free agency.

  19. Ryan July 15, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

    ESPN Reports, “Free agent swingman Ronnie Brewer is interested in playing for the Chicago Bulls, according to his agent Henry Thomas.”

    If the Reddick deal falls apart, there is a back-up plan! Let’s hear it for YOUR Chicago JAZZ!?!

  20. stank July 15, 2010 at 9:00 pm #

    why is everyone hating on t-mac??? even barring injuries his per 36 min stats still make him a desireable player and if he came to Chicago he can relax offensively. Rose will be the only player to average more than 20 noah 12-13 boozer 18 deng 15 all they need is a sg that can give u 15. while t-mac might be less explosive he is a better passer and ball handler and can play point to spell rose here and there reddick nor korver can run an offense!!! Truth is before the injuries T-Mac was the Kobe of the league and since he has been expected to perform at such a level when in actuality he’s as good as vince carter at the sg position when he have a quality pg. Even if u get reddick dont overlook the bulls going after T-Mac cuz I cant see reddick as a starter quite yet he’s a decent defender but he still a target for the likes of Kobe Wade Pierce and any other sg with size.

  21. handkuft@yahoo.com'
    GotNext July 15, 2010 at 10:11 pm #

    Anybody comparing JJ to TT needs a clue. The kid needs work on D and general decision making, but he is definitely not a spoiled brat riding a high horse.

  22. bodybagsteven@gmail.com'
    bullsfandom July 15, 2010 at 11:53 pm #

    In JJ’s defense, another guy who got limited minutes and everybody hated when he was a rookie was Joakim Noah. Now Jo is a cornerstone of our team with nothing but a bright future. Not saying that JJ is going to be Noah over Tyrus. All I’m saying is cut the kid a little slack.

  23. bryan265@uab.edu'
    B dub July 16, 2010 at 12:44 am #

    The bulls should workout tracy mcgrady

  24. joe.sez@gmail.com'
    joe July 16, 2010 at 2:23 am #

    Anybody comparing JJ to TT needs a clue. The kid needs work on D and general decision making, but he is definitely not a spoiled brat riding a high horse.

    Comment by GotNext

    Umhhh JJ isn’t TT but JJ wasn’t a hard worker either and that’s why he sank to 16.

    He is fitter now than last year. After bombing in his first season and failing to make any impact on the team, he’s physically where he should have been last year after being drafted.

    There’s a 1001 ways to wash out of the NBA.

  25. joe.sez@gmail.com'
    joe July 16, 2010 at 2:27 am #

    dear bullsfandom

    Noah won back to back NCAA titles – right?

    JJ has two fewer and isn’t as tall.

    One’s a proven competitor, the other less so.

  26. pc_eclipse@yahoo.com'
    Savage July 16, 2010 at 6:45 am #

    OK, Now the Magic have matched what to do now?? They better sign R. Brewer very soon and start looking into other 3 point specialists. This is a pretty gaping hole we have at the SG position. I only hope Gar/Pax had a plan G.

  27. chad July 16, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

    why didnt we get Gay or Beasley?

  28. chad July 16, 2010 at 3:14 pm #

    how about richard jefferson or nate robinson or barnes or brewer or brad miller or josh howard

  29. chad July 16, 2010 at 3:18 pm #

    roger mason jr can make 3’s like Redick

  30. idmrvmychal@yahoo.com'
    Vic Mitchell July 16, 2010 at 3:18 pm #

    Now that J.J.Redick is not coming to Chicago, would someone please consider SHANNON BROWN as our starting SG. He is young, super athletic and super aggresive. Nothing but upside to his career. He is big and strong enough to guard the position and would be an asset to Derrick in the backcourt for years to come with his ability to play both guard spots. I may be crazy but I see an all star game in his future. All he needs is minutes, once he gets meaninful playing time he will become a star.

  31. chad July 16, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

    bulls already had shannon brown, they wouldnt get him again

  32. handkuft@yahoo.com'
    GotNext July 16, 2010 at 8:35 pm #

    joe, I’m not saying the kid doesn’t have work ahead of him, but he’s still learning the ropes. Not every rookie makes an impact. Comparing him to TT or Joakim is wrong, no where near the same expectations.

  33. jdaniels@yahoo.com'
    josh n. July 16, 2010 at 9:38 pm #

    Boozer needed a Brewer. Bulls set.

  34. battlesmark18@yahoo.com'
    Harsh Word You July 16, 2010 at 11:01 pm #

    no on here can beat JJ in an one-on-one so shut the hell-up.

  35. battlesmark18@yahoo.com'
    Harsh Word You July 16, 2010 at 11:02 pm #

    TT is doing major props in needy communities, getting rewarded also.

  36. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath July 17, 2010 at 6:46 am #

    Oh my goodness, is JJ the 2010 version of Stacie King?

  37. joelm74@gamail.com'
    erik July 17, 2010 at 8:41 pm #

    How bout signing pete myers or ron mercer or jalen rose then we cant even get the better ex-utah guard as matthews signed with the trailblazers. Lose out on Reddick, really? Now the shot challenged Brewer way to go Bulls. This free agency seem familiar? Are saving grace is CB, Maybe we can get Tracy Mcgrady but leave Benny at home this time

  38. ericconway@hotmail.com'
    bullsfan July 18, 2010 at 2:42 am #

    I just watched the summerleague game against the Kings and James Johnson was horrible. I can’t see the Bulls keeping him. He single handedly lost the game with 2 key turnovers in the 4th quarter. He was 2-14 from the field, and has not shot better than 35 percent in any game. However Samuels and Lucas seem like they should get a shot at making the team. Everyone is saying Lucas is too small and he can’t play defense agaisnt the best but think about it, he is second string he won’t be in the game until the starters are out and he can shoot the three fairly well. Samuels can bang inside and give the Bulls fresh young legs. But Johnson has to go period!

  39. woodstron@yahoo.com'
    Tmoney July 18, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

    Give James Johnson a break… he will be placed as the back-up SF this year… if he doesn not produce in that role then talk more about it then. we still need a PG and big man…

  40. gee-dub@hotmail.com'
    krumbs July 18, 2010 at 6:39 pm #

    Big difference between Tyrus and James Johnson is that JJ actually has the skills of a perimeter player, while Tyrus was trying to convince everyone that he did. Thibs just needs to narrow the focus for JJ to become effective at one or two things to start, instead of summer league where he tried to do everything. I liked how he tried hard to man up LeBron on D during the playoffs – showed some heart coming back to make some plays after getting torched a few times.

  41. FElipeagarcia87@hotmail.com'
    dJ July 19, 2010 at 12:32 am #

    I agree,

    I am not that worried about James Johnson, I think he is going to have a much better year this season under our new coach Tom Thibodeau. Since he is a defensive specialist who can teach James Johnson how to control himself when he is playing.

    Right now, the Bulls should focus on getting another backup PG behind D. Rose like: Eddie House, Acie Law, C.J. Watson, Earl Watson, Bobby Brown, Jamaal Tinsley, Rafer Alston, Carlos Arroyo, Royal Ivey or Luke Ridnour.

  42. Anonymous July 19, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    why didn’t we pick up Tony Allen, thibs knows him well, and we need defenders if we want to hang wit the heat. Gay would’ve been a great addition as well, but since they both already signed to Memphis, I say we need to get Shannon brown!

  43. FElipeagarcia87@hotmail.com'
    dJ July 20, 2010 at 7:18 am #

    Don’t worry Anonymous, we got someone better then Tony Allen to backup D. Rose. We have now C.J Watson, a guy who can play defense and shoot from far range. Get move for the bulls! =)

  44. marivd839@gmail.com'
    Top Sports Star August 2, 2010 at 7:05 am #

    If it’s good enough for the NBA and the best players in the world, it surely needs to be a staple in youth basketball in every gym in America.

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