With the Halloween buzz finally setting in, what better way to celebrate terror than with one of the most intimidating guys league wide, Ivan Johnson.
While his game may be almost as raw as they come and his questionable decision making cringe-worthy at times, Johnson is just the kind of player you can’t help but root for. As a 27 year old rookie, Johnson exploded into the Hawks rotation as a devastating finisher on the low post and a 6’8 beast of a bruiser.
This rookie of the month winner is also far more versatile than people give him credit for. He has solid hands and is surprisingly agile for someone of his size. He has the ability to step out and knock down 18 footers with ease, as well the ability to face up and take defenders off the dribble.
In 16 minutes a game last season, Johnson posted a respectable 6.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game with shooting a solid 51% from the field. And although his 1.2 turnovers a game is certainly a major blemish on his stat line, it’s something that should only improve with time.
Going forward Johnson should see an increased role in Atlanta, there have even been a few grumblings here and there among analysts that he should even log a few starts. That said, there is one major aspect of his game that will need to garner some significant improvement if he wants to log any truly significant playing time, his awareness.
Maybe it comes with his outstanding work ethic, but Johnson has a tendency to try to do too much on the court. And although his tireless effort is one of the many reasons Hawks’ fans love him, it often leads to brash offensive possessions and some pretty reckless play at times. If Johnson slows down a little and plays within the flow of the offense more, he should be play with less frustration and in turn eliminate of easily avoidable mistakes.
This season look for Johnson to continue his role off the bench. His fiery, competitive spirit and offensive upside should continue to compliment the likes of Pachulia and Horford nicely in limited minutes.