It appears as if the list of non-roster invitees to Hawks training camp just got a bit longer. Priority Sports management firm dropped this tidbit of news via Twitter on Thursday night:
— Priority Sports (@PrioritySports) September 19, 2013
The news that James Johnson will be in Hawks camp certainly isn’t a surprise, as there were swirling rumors about it, as well as a documented workout with the team a few weeks ago. However, he will be joining a lengthening list of players including Royal Ivey, David Lighty, and Eric Dawson to battle for roster spots in a couple of weeks.
Johnson is a former 1st-round pick of the Bulls who has bounced around considerably in his NBA career. He is a significant talent (hence the mid-1st round selection) with good size for the forward spot (6-9, 250 pounds), but that promise has only turned into one “league average” season of production. That year was 2011-2012 with the Raptors, where had nearly a 15 PER and put up per-40 minute averages of 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds, but that certainly appears to be the outlier in his statistical profile.
The achilles heel of Johnson’s offensive game has been turnovers, as he routinely posts turnover rates above 15% (which is wretched) and he has virtually the same amount of turnovers (1.3 per game) as assists (1.4 per game) for his career. However, on a team void of defensive-minded players at some spots, he could be a nice addition as a high-energy wing defender.
I whole-heartedly support this strategy by Ferry and Budenholzer, as they bring in legitimate NBA veterans to compete for roster spots. This is especially true when some of the penciled-in guys (Shelvin Mack, Mike Scott) have non-guaranteed contracts, and the best man should win out in these roster battles.