Nets

Tyler Johnson Finally Gets His Shot With Brooklyn

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It is not the summer of 2016, but the Brooklyn Nets have signed former Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns guard Tyler Johnson. The move is no surprise, as both sides expressed interest four years ago. ESPN’s currently-suspended Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Brooklyn was signing Johnson and waiving Theo Pinson. The Nets did not release terms of the deal.

When general manager Sean Marks took over the Nets, he understood that there were not going to be instant results. The team had no draft picks and did not have much NBA talent on the roster from the previous regime. Rewinding to the early stages of the rebuild, Brooklyn needed to acquire assets and expertise in any way possible. Their two options were either via trade or free agency. Marks tested his luck in the free-agent market. His first two offers to Allen Crabbe (four years, $75 million) and Tyler Johnson (four years, $50 million) transpired unsuccessfully, as both the Blazers and Heat matched Brooklyn’s offers.

The Nets made one fact clear that summer, they were willing to spend money to acquire talent. Coming from the Gregg Popovich tree in San Antonio, Marks understood that to make the Nets a perennial winner, there were not going to be any shortcuts. Also, the importance of establishing a winning culture was vital to an organization’s success. Giving opportunities to players that had failed with their previous teams was Brooklyn’s best option.

New Opportunity in Brooklyn

A new opportunity and change of scenery are what Johnson needs to revitalize his NBA career. Back in 2016, the Nets offered Johnson his first substantial payday because they believed in his potential to grow as an all-around player. The numbers indicated that potential with Johnson’s first two years with Miami, averaging 12.7 points and shooting 37 percent from behind the arc.

Unfortunately, Johnson’s time in Miami was over two years later. The Heat traded him in a double salary dump to the Phoenix Suns for Ryan Anderson. To make matters worse, his game took a step back with multiple injuries and declining production. Johnson played in only 44 games and averaged 7.3 points with a 38/30/82 stat line.

Despite his concerning numbers and tenure in Phoenix, optimism should remain. Johnson’s larger sample size of success should encourage fans and brass to be excited for the future in Brooklyn. The signing is low risk, high reward. If Johnson plays well down in Orlando, expect him to have a role on the team next season. If he were to struggle, it was an experiment that simply did not work and both sides part.

 

The time down in Orlando can make or break Johnson’s next potential payday. With multiple players sitting out due to injuries or the COVID-19 pandemic, minutes will be available. While he may not be the athlete he once was before the knee injury, the Nets’ medical staff can work with Johnson to get him into the best basketball shape and rebuild his confidence. Tyler Johnson gets his opportunity with the Nets– but for how long?

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About Rob Siwiec

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