When it comes to grading Joe Johnson’s season with the Utah Jazz, it’s incredibly difficult to grade on anything but a curve. Joe Johnson did so much for Utah in such a short amount of time. He changed the perception of Utah by signing with the small market team in the offseason of 2016, he carried Utah to a stunning victory in the 1st round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs with big time heroics, and he provided a veteran presence in the 2017 offseason to a young team reeling from losing its top two scorers. It feels wrong to judge Joe Johnson’s season that was cut short by his release in a vacuum, but that’s what we’re going to do today.
Joe Johnson while being the ideal stretch four in Utah’s offense last season was a shadow of his former self. While injuries derailed him for the first part of the year, Joe Johnson was facing another challenge that he’d never faced before: time. Father Time had Joe Johnson backpedaling this season faster than Kevin Durant explaining a social media burner account.
In 2016-2017, the Utah Jazz relied on Joe Johnson’s Joe Jesus heroics in the fourth quarter. In the 4th quarter with less than 5 minutes left according to 82games.com, Joe Jesus turned water into buckets. His PER48 scoring was 30.4 points on an eFG% of 70%. Joe Johnson GOT BUCKETS. In 2017-2018, Father Time betrayed Joe Jesus like an elemental Judas Iscariot. Joe Johnson PER48 in clutch time this season was 13.1 points on an eFG% of 14.3%. Big difference.
Joe Johnson would end up being released by Utah so he could have a chance to go ring chasing to finally end his career with a championship. While we’ll never cheer for the Houston Rockets, we’ll cheer for Joe Johnson to get his chip. He carried the Utah Jazz to a 1st round playoff win much like how Donovan Mitchell carried Utah to one this year. If we were grading both this year and last year, Joe Johnson would be a clear A. But we’re grading this season in a vacuum, which seems unfair considering all that Johnson did in his brief tenure in Utah.
Average GPA: 1.4
Per Game Stats
Per 36 Stats
Grade Notes from the SLC Dunk Staff
Mychal Lowman: I give Joe Johnson a C for this year. While his on the court production was lacking, he was a solid locker room presence and he organized a lot of offseason workouts with the squad shortly after Gordon Hayward left. Those workouts might not seem like much, but this team was without an identity. Joe Johnson was the tourniquet being applied immediately after the injury to stop the bleeding.
James Hansen: For the first time it looked like father time was catching up with Joe Johnson and it showed.
Andy Bailey: Joe Johnson was an incredible signing by Lindsey two summers ago. Without him, it’s pretty easy to see the Jazz losing to the Clippers in the first round of last year’s playoffs. With those niceties out of the way, Johnson had a whale of a time this season. He posted career lows in Box Plus-Minus, Win Shares per 48 Minutes and Player Efficiency Rating, as well as points and assists per game.
Kaleb Searle: He was a sieve on defense, couldn’t hit a shot, and spent most of his time in Utah this season injured. Thanks for the memories, Joe Jesus, but this season wasn’t among them.
Tavan Parker: Father Time caught up to Joe Johnson rapidly this year.
Jason Walker: I will always hold Joe Johnson in high regard for his 2016-17 season. Unfortunately, this year he was nothing like he was then.
Jordan Cummings: Joe Johnson’s heroics from the 2017 playoffs will never be forgotten by Utah Jazz faithful, but his performance this season left much to be desired. He just didn’t have anything left in the tank, but Dennis Lindsey did right by him and gave him the opportunity to sign wherever he wanted (the trade to Sacramento + cash meant they could waive him while Utah footed the bill, making ISO Joe a free agent). I gave him a C- but Utah will always love you for killing lob city, Joe. Thank you.
Diana: I will always love Joe Johnson for what he brought us last season, its too bad Father Time caught up with you this season.
Sam Goodrich: Joe Johnson got old, there’s not much more to it than that. The Jazz released him out of courtesy and respect for all he did for us in his short time here. He deserved a chance to go ring chasing.