Apparently, Bryan Colangelo and Geoff Petrie no longer have bed times because the two struck a deal in the middle of the night that sent James Johnson to the California State Capitol while the Kings send a 2014 second round pick back East, according to Sam Amick.
Johnson, a 6’9, 248lb tweener forward is a high quality defender who really came into his own last season in Toronto before mysteriously finding himself in a power struggle with Raptors head coach Dwane Casey. Despite the flare up, Johnson maintained his high quality play even though his minutes dipped as the season came to an end.
Johnson brings with him a handful of qualities the Kings lack, especially on the defensive side where he had a +2.5 defensive win share last season. In addition to the strong play on the defensive side of the ball, Johnson, unlike some small forwards we know too well, doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective.
On the downside, Johnson isn’t much of an outside shooter (or much of a shooter at all), shooting only 31% beyond the arc last year (which actually wasn’t all that bad considering what we watched from the small forward position last year, much worse in previous years). In addition to the less than stellar shot, Johnson does come with a bit of a reputation, something Petrie apparently loves to take a risk on given the unhappy talent he’s plucked away before.
The 16th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft should provide solid depth at the small forward spot for the Kings, but you have to wonder, is he that much better than Terrence Williams, who appears to be the loser in this situation? Now with a roster of 14 players (max of 15) and still in need of a backup PG, it appears the Kings have moved on from the former Louisville Cardinal barring a trade/amnesty, the latter of which being very unlikely.
Talent for, well, pick value, it’s a very good move for the Kings but expectations need to be tempered for Jones’ impact on the Kings. There’s no doubt he fills a need, but he’s still best suited as a role player – not that there is anything wrong with that.
The 25 year old is under contract for $2.8 million this year and will enter restricted free agency at season end with a qualifying offer of nearly $4 million.