BrotherSteve's Blog: Amir Johnson, Toronto Raptors Next Marcus Camby?
Old 09-24-2009, 11:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default BrotherSteve's Blog: Amir Johnson, Toronto Raptors Next Marcus Camby?



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Amir Johnson will forever (we hope) be remembered as the last player drafted into the NBA directly from high school. The 6’ 9” 200 lb teenager from Westchester High School was selected 56th overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 2005 NBA Draft having just turned 18 years old.

This past off season, Detroit sent Amir Johnson to Milwaukee as a part of a 3-team deal with the Spurs. Not long after, the Bucks traded Johnson and Sonny Weems to the Raptors for Carlos Delfino and Roko Ukic.

Amir Johnson, the high school state champion; McDonald’s High School All- American; Mr. Basketball in California; and, Los Angeles Times Los Angeles’ Player of the Year, decided to skip college after he had committed to play at the University of Louisville.

It was reported by some that he declared for the draft because he wanted to enter the NBA immediately. Others reported that he didn’t have the academic standing to attend college. In any case, mock draft boards had Johnson as a late second round pick for 2005.

Considered an athletic freak, Johnson’s game was understandably considered to be extremely raw. In his first 2 NBA seasons, Amir Johnson played more games in the NBADL than he did in the NBA. It appears that Joe Dumars had stashed his promising young prospect where he could ensure Johnson’s game would get a chance to develop. A side benefit of letting Johnson develop elsewhere was he reportedly grew another 2” to 6’ 11” before seeing significant NBA minutes.

Amir Johnson has looked very good in the NBADL. In his first season with Fayetteville, Johnson averaged 17.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots over 17 games. The next year in Sioux Falls, he increased his stats to 18.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 3.1 blocks in 22 games including an impressive 62.3 FG%.

This must have impressed the Detroit brass as they gave Johnson a 3-year, $11 million extension to remain with the Pistons in 2007. Scouting reports described Amir Johnson as a young hybrid forward able to play a fast paced game and finally ready for some NBA minutes.

Johnson was still a raw prospect however, as evidenced by his 3+ turnovers in final D-league stint. Then the results from his more recent 2008 summer league games confirmed it. In those summer league games he averaged just 9 points, 6 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 1.0 block, 3 turnovers, and 7 personal fouls in just 25.8 minutes, more reminiscent of a rookie than a 3rd year player.

But Amir Johnson did play 62 games for the Pistons in each of the last 2 seasons. In 2007-08, he averaged 12.3 minutes per game scoring 3.6 points, collecting 3.8 rebounds and getting 0.4 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. And as importantly, his turnovers fell by half from his first 2 NBA seasons to 0.6 per game.

Last season, Johnson stagnated statistically even though he started 24 games. In 2008-09 he averaged 3.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 0.3 steals and 1 block in 14.7 minutes. Turnovers dropped slightly to 0.53 and his shooting percentage increased from 56% to 60%.

Last year ESPN’s Hollinger report probably produced the best description of Amir Johnson’s game and needs for his future development. Hollinger believed Johnson needed to play at least 20 minutes per game to develop and that Johnson is “a freak of an athlete … (who) has made at least one crowd-wowing play every time I’ve seen him perform … his biggest issue is … turnovers, but … (he is) one of the game’s top big man prospects”

Unfortunately last season Johnson was stuck behind Antonio McDyess, Rasheed Wallace, Jason Maxiell, and Kwame Brown. This season he looks to be stuck behind Chris Bosh, Andre Bargnani, Reggie Evans and Rasho Nesterovic.

The 2009-10 season represents an important time in Amir Johnson’s career. Still very young at just 22 years old, Johnson is entering his 5th NBA season and the final year of his current contract. Johnson should be ready to provide a break-out season for the Raptors and some much needed athleticism under the basket.

But Johnson is trapped behind 2 very reliable and seasoned veteran backup big men in Evans and Nesterovic. He is going to have to wow the Raptors coaching staff in preseason and in practice to get any minutes in the Raptors’ rotation.

Colangelo traded 2 players that no longer appeared to have a spot in this team’s rotation to get 2 prospects in Johnson and Weems who might become part of the Raptors’ future. Johnson is by far the more NBA ready of the 2 and could at some point during this year become that high energy, off-the-bench; big man the Raptors have needed for some time.

If Amir Johnson can convince the Raptor’s coaching staff to play him consistent minutes this season, expect him to quickly become a fan favourite. If he can’t, he might become Pops Mensah-Bonsu 2.0.
Source - Amir Johnson, Toronto Raptors Next Marcus Camby? Brothersteve's Green & Red Raptor Blog
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Old 09-24-2009, 12:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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No offense brothersteve, but how can you title your article "The Next Marcus Camby" and then provide no explanation or even criteria on why you think he might be the next Camby?
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Old 09-24-2009, 01:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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actually, hollinger makes that comparison in his scouting preview, I've posted that a few weeks ago. Hollinger also mentiones that he averages the 2nd most blocks per minute in the nba (3 times better than Bosh for example and more than 2 times better than bargnani)
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Old 09-24-2009, 01:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Camby like contributions (in terms of D, blks and boards)...maybe
but I don't think he'll be able to grab 12 rebounds per as Camby does regularly
Camby has a better offensive game
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Old 09-24-2009, 01:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Camby can hit the open 12-15 footer.... he causes offensiveplayers to think first before driving into the paint... he's also a shoe-in for 10+ rebs a night.
johnson isnt even close.
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Old 09-24-2009, 02:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Camby was soooo much better in college!
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Old 09-24-2009, 03:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Camby was soooo much better in college!
How can you compare, Johnson never went to College
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Old 09-24-2009, 04:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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How can you compare, Johnson never went to College
although, this prediction is a bit far fetched.
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Old 09-24-2009, 05:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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why would you say hes the next marcus camby....

then go on to say hes Pops Mensah-Bonsu 2.0?
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Old 09-24-2009, 06:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moremilk View Post
actually, hollinger makes that comparison in his scouting preview, I've posted that a few weeks ago. Hollinger also mentiones that he averages the 2nd most blocks per minute in the nba (3 times better than Bosh for example and more than 2 times better than bargnani)
holy wow! i wonder why he only plays 12 minutes a night when he can average 3 blocks a game!
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:11 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
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No offense brothersteve, but how can you title your article "The Next Marcus Camby" and then provide no explanation or even criteria on why you think he might be the next Camby?
Haha, I know. I read the whole thing...Paused, looked at the title again, hit CTRL+F, typed in Camby and then searched for Camby...Just in case I went into a mini coma or something and missed it.
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Old 09-25-2009, 08:29 AM   #12 (permalink)
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why would you say hes the next marcus camby....

then go on to say hes Pops Mensah-Bonsu 2.0?
you misinterpreted it. he said that he could be the next marcus camby

and then said at the very least he will become the next pops.
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Old 09-25-2009, 01:05 PM   #13 (permalink)
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...He's better than Pops now...
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