Over the last couple of months, the plan in my mind was to interview James Johnson in some form or another. Maybe there would be time pre- or post-game, or during shootaround some morning. If I could make the necessary arrangements, it could be possible to get some one-on-one time with the man to hear what he had to say about the season and his time with the Raptors. Did Johnson still think he was underutilized?
It never happened. There are excuses to offer here, but mostly: I got busy and then chickened out and then just ran out of time. Johnson was injured anyway, and looked mostly glum. The NBA season marched on regardless.
In retrospect, I'm not entirely sure why I started the Watch, or what I was trying to accomplish. (You may have picked up on that.) The original entry was fairly brief. From there I went on all kinds of tangential journeys, mostly involving movies, or stray locker room observations, or, most potently, emotions. It's safe to say I've written more words in and around Johnson than probably anyone on Earth. I'd like to be able to tell you I could add some new insight to what it must feel like to be Johnson. Sadly, I cannot.
The Raptors are in the playoffs now for the third year in a row. Johnson will be there. So will I. The city will be excited. And then it will end, in defeat. And Johnson will be gone. We'll still be here for a time. And then that will be that. Thanks for reading.
Did James Johnson Play?
In the final week of the season, Johnson got into one game against the Raptors' first round opponent, the Indiana Pacers. He played a total of 27 minutes and 52 seconds. This means I set a pretty solid line (24.5) and if you picked the over, you won. In that time, Johnson managed nine points (on 3-of-7 shooting, including two missed 3s -- a skill which seems to have left him), five rebounds and three assists. Nothing really stood out from the game (save for the highlight below).
I suspect it may be the last time we see Johnson on the court for the Raptors.
Ah yes, one last bit of Peak James Johnson. It's a safe bet we won't see this kind of play again any time soon.
But I stand by my original comment: This is not how you play HORSE.
Prediction for the Week
The Raptors are in the playoffs starting this Saturday at 12:30pm. They of course got saddled with the worst start time. This is life for the lone Canadian team in the league. But I digress.
It's safe to say that the combination of plantar fasciitis, from which Johnson is still suffering, plus the return of DeMarre Carroll and the emergence of Norman Powell, makes a JJ comeback unlikely. Somehow we've ended up here, in a place where Johnson is more than forgotten, but he's not even particularly necessary. I admit I suspected this would be the case at the beginning of the season. I figured Johnson wouldn't get much run. But the ups and downs of his season were quite something to behold. Who had Johnson pegged for 32 starts this year? Not I.
What a wild world we sometimes live in.
Over/Under Minutes: N/A
We made it. Thus ends the Watch.