March 30, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; New Jersey Nets center Johan Petro (27) dunks the ball against the Golden State Warriors during the first quarter at ORACLE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

2012 Atlanta Hawks Player Preview: Johan Petro

If all goes well, Johan Petro shouldn’t see the court much in 2012-2013. After being a 1st-round pick of the now-defunct Seattle SuperSonics in 2005 (I’m sorry Seattle), Petro has completed 7 full seasons in the NBA. In short, that’s a pretty reasonable sample size to tell you that Johan Petro has been the player that he’s probably going to be. Let’s take a look at that player…

Offensively, Petro is certainly a work-in-progress, and that’s likely being kind. At 7-feet, 250 pounds with good athleticism, you’d imagine Petro to be a terror around the rim, cleaning up messes and putting the ball in the basket. The opposite is true. Johan finished 2011 by shooting at a 44.1% clip on shots around the rim, ranking him in the bottom-tenth of big men in the league in this category. In addition, his true shooting percentage was under 46%, and this wasn’t a one-time fluke, as he’s “accomplished” this feat 4 different times in his career. In short, he’s a pretty ineffective offensive player, and that’s the side of the court that keeps him on the bench for the most part. One positive for Petro is an ability to step out and make a 12-15 foot push jump shot, but it doesn’t mitigate his inability to score effectively at the rim.

On the defensive end, things are a bit rosier. Petro provides above-average athleticism and range for his size, which allows for some flexibility in pick-n-roll defense. He’s an adequate shot blocker (about league-average for a center), and won’t kill you on the glass despite an underwhelming 9.5 rebounds per 40 minutes in 2011. The only real negative on this side of the court is the fact that Petro has committed a foul every 7.5 minutes, which could pose a huge issue if he’s ever forced into more extended action due an injury to Horford or Pachulia. Overall on defense, Petro is at least an average player.

In the end, Petro’s overall performance shouldn’t inspire too much excitement. His offensive skill level doesn’t support a prominent role, and really keeps him from being anything more than a 3rd center/end-of-bench guy in the league. With a career that doesn’t produce a single PER over 12, I don’t see too much reason to expect a jump in production in a Hawks uniform. That said, at 1 year and $3.5 million this season after coming over in the Joe Johnson deal, Petro could be a semi-valuable insurance option. Just don’t expect the world.

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