When Larry David was informed that The Seinfeld Chronicles (later chopped short to just Seinfeld) had been picked up for a second season, after the four episode first "season" had aired, it should have been time to celebrate. He and Jerry Seinfeld were getting a huge break, a chance to put together another 13 episodes of their TV show as paid for by NBC. It was the ultimate "what a time to be alive moment" in David's career, which had been listing along at that point. He didn't know it yet, but he'd made it.
Instead, Larry David's first reaction (paraphrased from memory) was, "I have to write 13 more of these things?!"
So it goes with the James Johnson Watch. On Boxing Day, DeMarre Carroll returned and while he didn't quite look like himself, we figured he'd round into shape and push the Raptors to a new level. And, for my part, I was prepared for Johnson to return into a seldom used tenth man, more philosophical abstraction than basketball player.
Of course, it hasn't gone that way. Carroll is out for an indeterminate amount of time (probably around two months) after undergoing surgery on his right knee. This is bad news for the Raptors. But it also means Johnson is starting again, which means a lot more in-game action, which means, well... I have to write more of these things?!
Did James Johnson Play?
How about this for a week in the life of James Johnson (to start the new year, no less!).
First, against the nemesis Charlotte Hornets:
Is James Johnson working on a 5 trillion?— Seth Partnow (@SethPartnow) January 2, 2016
Then after not playing against Chicago (as Jimmy Butler lit the team up for 40 against a hobbled Carroll), Johnson got the call against LeBron James and the Cavaliers the next night:
James Johnson said he's excited for opportunity, sad to see Carroll go down to give him the chance. Also said "I played like poo," vs. Cavs.— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) January 6, 2016
And last night, the start against the brutal Brooklyn Nets, a decent line of eight points, five boards and 50 percent shooting. Johnson comically destroyed the line of 8.5 minutes I set last week by roughly a 46 minute margin. He even got to play garbage time minutes with all of the D-League call-ups (minus Anthony Bennett). It's been quite a week.
Not an in-game highlight, per se, but this was simply too good to not share. Johnson is nothing if not aware of, and confident in, his ability:
lol Facts only https://t.co/DbKYRyksXb— James Johnson (@IamJJ3) January 7, 2016
Prediction for the Week
The Raptors play another back-to-back this weekend with the Wizards (again?) on Friday night and then the Sixers on Saturday. Then, it's a long flight over to London, England and a Thursday showdown with the Magic. With Carroll sitting out for the foreseeable future and Terrence Ross blossoming (relatively speaking) in a bench role, it's easy to see Johnson getting the lion's share of starters minutes.
He can do damage against the Wizards' lanky, small lineups; he can operate in prime or garbage minutes against the Sixers; and the Raptors may need him to grapple with Tobias Harris of the Magic again. Time to kick the line way, way back up.
Over/Under Minutes: 65.5
We're back in big on James Johnson. Let's see how many episodes we get of this particular new show.
Make your prediction in the comments. And we'll see you next week.