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Old 12-28-2011, 09:36 AM   #1 (permalink)

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Default Smith: Johnson needs to work on turnovers

I think we can all agree James Johnson is one of the more intriguing Raptors – along with one of the more frustrating ones some nights.

He’s big and strong, willing to play a role as a defensive specialist and I know Dwane Casey is quite interested in his potential.

But what’s going to kill Johnson’s playing time – and he knows it – are his turnovers. Ghastly, some of them; and far too frequent. He had four the other night in Cleveland – that seems to be about the norm for him – I think two were for travelling, one was where he bounced a pass off Andrea’s head and I can’t remember the other.

To him, a solution is easy:

Slow the hell down, or at least that’s what he was saying yesterday at practice:

“It starts here in practice, getting more shots up five-on-five, moving the ball during five-on-five, making the right play and making the right pass. Got a long ways to go but it’s close.

“I worked hard during the summer but I hadn’t played a real five-on-five game until the first Boston pre-season games; a couple more games in and things will start slowing down for me.”

I guess that’s the same for every young player – and Johnson is just in his third season and has only been a starter for less than half a season – but he’s got to be better.

Small forward is a bit of a black hole for this team, everyone knows it; it’s a job waiting to be claimed and if Johnson can cut down on his mistakes, the job is his.

He is a very good defender and looks like he could be a pretty good rebounder but he can’t be coughing up the ball as often as he has been.
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