It was only last week - last week! - I was discussing the relative professionalism of the deeply benched James Johnson. Look at him, I marvelled, he understands his role, keeps cool, and does his best when called upon. We should all model ourselves after James Johnson, I dumbly implied, after comparing him to a freakin' Cold War spy. You know, as you do.
This week, I was all set to ramble on about the ebbs and flows of the universe, the tides, and the forces beyond human understanding. I swear, we were going to get metaphysical up in here. The Watch was going to move onto a higher plane. We would achieve nirvana.
But then, our friend James Johnson went and did a thing.
#Mood. Under-utilized— James Johnson (@IamJJ3) November 26, 2015
Oh, James. Transcendence was in reach!
Did James Johnson Play?
Before we continue, I want to point out here that I set the Johnson minutes line last week at 29.5 and he ended up playing 27.5 minutes. Now, I'm not saying I'm some sort of gambling action savant, but it is something to consider. If you grabbed the under, which Vegas would presumably tell you is still the safe bet, you won again. If you're James Johnson, well, you may be in a bad mood.
In three games this week, Johnson's largest impact was felt in the Raptors' game against the Lakers last Friday. After Jonas Valanciunas went down, Dwane Casey was pushed into using Johnson a bit more (he logged 15+ minutes) - and also, the Lakers are a hot garbage fire so why not play him, you know? We did see the whispers of a funky lineup in Cory Joseph-Terrence Ross-Patrick Patterson-DeMarre Carroll with Johnson ostensibly at centre. A similar small lineup (with DeRozan instead of Carroll) made a second quarter appearance against the Cavs too. You can almost see the components of a wild idea forming in Casey's mind, before they flit away.
It is moments like this when I choose to remember the good times. Everyone gather around, let's watch old James Johnson highlights and avoid reality for a little while.
Pursuant to the reality-avoiding bender we're on, maybe Johnson's "under-utilized" mood is in regards to something besides basketball. Have we ever considered that? Have we?
Think about it. Maybe the Johnsons were cooking up Thanksgiving dinner today and young James didn't feel like his family was getting him involved enough. Maybe Johnson wanted to be given a fair chance to carve the turkey, or prepare some stuffing, or candy some yams. Maybe he would love it if someone asked him to pass a dish instead of just reaching over his plate. Dammit, maybe James wants to slice the pumpkin pie this year!
Just some food for thought.
Prediction for the Week
A rather raucous four game week coming up for the Watch: the Washington Wizards revenge game on Saturday, the Suns the next day, then the rival Hawks on Wednesday, and finally a dance with the Nuggets on Thursday. It's tough to see Johnson getting play against the potential bigs of the Wizards' lineup. But it feels like he'd be useful against whatever options the Nuggets, Hawks and Suns trot out.
But if you are Casey and the Raptors organization, are you playing Johnson much this coming week?
Over/Under Minutes: 7.5 minutes
I believe the turn of phrase is "snitches get stitches." Well, personal mood or not, Johnson has opened his mouth in a public and frustrated way. Not hard to see this turning out badly for him.
We'll see how it goes for next week.
James Johnson repents!
My bad, just want more than anything to be a big part of something special for fans, teammates and coaches. #wethenorth— James Johnson (@IamJJ3) November 26, 2015
We now return you to your regularly scheduled program of transcendence (and turkey, maybe).