Amir Johnson has played the fewest minutes of an NBA season in the last 10yrs. After playing 12 minutes Friday night against the Rockets, in Houston, Johnson once again made the trek 30miles south to play in Delaware for the Blue Coats. The desire to just play the game on the part of a 14yr NBA veteran has garnered his coach and teammates admiration.
“I think that you look at Amir Johnson, and the work that he put in after…we all get what his season has been.” Said Brett Brown Tuesday night. ” A week and a half ago he drove himself to Delaware so that he could play in a G-League game.” Johnson had 15 points in the overtime loss in Delaware his last outing but enjoyed his experience. “Think about that: a thirteen year NBA veteran, drives himself just so that he can play basketball again.”
Love of the Game
It is a legitimate question with big men regarding their love of the game of basketball. Amir Johnson displays the humility and lack of egocentrism that exemplifies the best aspects of the sporting world. You have to think that his teammates both in Philadelphia and Wilmington are influenced by this egoless approach.
” I have a tremendous amount of respect for his humility, and his pride, and his professionalism.” Continued Brown after Amir was part of a rotation that limited Nik Vucevic to a rare off shooting night against the Sixers.
“For me to see him go up there and play his best game of the year in a game where we are missing three of our centers, it’s encouraging.”
Brown did not leave out Mike Scott and Justin Patton either in his praise.
“It’s a helluva story, and I think that the job Mike Scott did, and you talk about the appreciation. Then Justin came in. Those three guys did a helluva job on an NBA All Star.”
Speaking of Patton, he made his 76ers debut Tuesday and was comfortable in the Sixers defensive scheme. Additionally Patton made some nice passes out of the high post position and tallied 3 assists in just 9 minutes. He added 4 points and 2 steals in 10minutes Friday against Houston.
Brett Brown gave his impression of Patton: “Not afraid. I thought that he passed the ball well. He took the shots that he should have shot, comfortably. I see size that moves, that there is an agility in his style of play that at his age and skill set is really interesting.”
Brown was reticent to offer much hope for Patton to play consistent minutes this season for Philadelphia but was complimentary of his skillset and physical tools.
“He’s a good kid, he’s trying, but how much I’ll be able to play him going forward, that’s up in the air…that’s up for debate.”
Speaking after the game Tuesday about his defensive comfort Patton offered self critique on his attempted blocks.
“Honestly, I didn’t block it, so I need to do it better moving forward. It’s just getting more comfortable in my role. If you look at it, I didn’t have any opportunities to do that in the first half. I was just trying to make an impact on defense and that’s how I’m going to get on the floor. I thought if I could block a couple shots, I didn’t get a chance to, but I tried.”
On how it felt to be out there in an NBA game:
“It’s not nerves. Everybody does a good job. When you have a staff so good and teammates who are great teammates, it’s like when your mom comes to a game or your grandpa comes to the game, you just feel comfortable. So when I went out there, I felt comfortable because I knew I had my teammates and the staff behind me.”
On what’s next:
“If he calls my name again, just making an impact on defense, running the floor, screen-and-roll, that’s about it.”
Saturday night Patton sat down with PFO court-side before the Blue Coats game and talked reverently about his first experience seeing James Harden live.
“The Green light he has is amazing” Patton said of Harden who had 31 points on 22 shots. “Guys had open lanes to the basket and were passing to him instead”
Trying to Scry
Johnson playing Saturday in Delaware is most notable in that it would seem to indicate that Joel Embiid is set to make his return Sunday against the Indiana Pacers.
You have to think that if the Sixers expected Amir to be called on for major minutes Sunday that he would have been discouraged from making a start for the Blue Coats. I don’t think it is reading too much into the situation to think that Embiid is likely to return.