When the Utah Jazz signed veteran small forward Joe Johnson to a two-year, $22 million contract this summer, most of us were understandably excited. A seven-time all-star chose to come to the perennial “bad free agent destination,” SLC, Utah, and Dennis Lindsey didn't have to break the bank or sell any organs to get him to make that choice. Moreover, he didn't expect to start, but would provide the team with much-needed depth.
Unfortunately, the team has had to rely on that depth more than they had planned on this season, especially at the beginning, when Gordon Hayward was sidelined during the first eight games.
“Iso-Joe” has been a complete pro. He hasn't complained about his role, about his playing time, or about anything, really. At least, not publicly. But just how great a value is he? I saw a random dude on twitter the other night complain that he was a waste of money. I knew that wasn't true just based on the eyeball test alone, and I also knew that most Jazz fans don’t think this, but it got me wondering: how does he stack up compared to other, similarly paid players? Thanks to the magic of the worldwide web, finding out wasn't too difficult:
Okay, so Joe Johnson isn’t the best at everything among those players, but he isn’t the worst at anything, either. He is only below average by more than two whole points in one category, and is near the average in the others, with the exception of 3P%, in which he is about 9 points better than average.
In my view, the Jazz were looking to get three things from Johnson: three-point shooting, scoring in general and scoring in the clutch. He’s been more than serviceable at doing those things.
What this all boils down to, though, is this: Is Joe Johnson a good value at 2 years, $11 million? The data says that he is. He’s not an all-star anymore, and he’s not able to put the team on his back night-in, night-out, but he does provide stability, which has been in short supply so far this season.
Here’s to another 52 games of stability, Mr. Johnson.