James Johnson Shows Promise…And A Poor Jump Shot
In case you hadn’t heard, the Bulls have been playing in the Vegas Summer League this past week. And by Bulls I mean a hodgepodge of rookies, sophomores and ex-college stars. While Taj Gibson went down with an injury mid-week (no worries, it doesn’t appear to be serious), James Johnson has looked good at times, and terrible at others. Kevin Arnovitz of Truehoop had this to say:
James Johnson‘s game can be disjointed at times. It’s not that he looks lost. It’s just the opposite — he’s a small forward with too many choices. Johnson couldn’t buy a shot Friday (2-for-11 from the field), but he made four or five beautiful plays for teammates — including a pinpoint interior bounce pass in traffic between two defenders to find James Augustine for a layup. Johnson finished with seven assists.
I was able to watch parts of a few games online, and I must say he looked very good. His ballhandling skills are superb and he is long and athletic. His jump shot is obviously a little shaky, and not just that 2-11 line from Friday. If anything he is like a poor man’s Tyrus when it comes to freakish athleticism, yet possesses a much keener basketball IQ. He makes good decisions with the ball and will be able to handle it in a lineup that could be lacking in good ballhandlers (Kirk may or may not be here and no one really expects Pargo to be a big factor). He also went to the line 35 times in 5 games, which is an average of 7 free throws a game. While a low post game would be nice, it will also be good to have another player that can attack the basket to complement Rose. Obviously doing all these things in the Summer League does not magically translate into a great pro career, but its exciting to see that he has the tools to be an effective player.
Oh and a side note: yeah that is James Augustine’s name you saw in Arnovitz’s analysis. He has actually looked decent so far this summer, though it seems unlikely that he will earn a spot with the Bulls. Either way, anything to remind me of the Illini’s glory days is always a good thing.