Should the Atlanta Hawks retire Joe Johnson’s number?

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 8: Joe Johnson
ATLANTA, GA - MAY 8: Joe Johnson /
5 of 5
Joe Johnson
BOSTON, MA – MAY 10: Paul Pierce /

What I thought was interesting about Joe’s game, was that he did not use his 6’7″, 230 lb frame more to his advantage. For a player with a similar build to LeBron James, he never punished opposing defenders with furious drives to the rim. In his defense, he could exploit any matchup to an easy two points with his back to the basket.

For a player that receives an inordinatly greater amount of praise than Johnson, Pierce sure does mirror an abundance of the statistics as a scorer with the “armidilo cowboy “. The Arkansas Razorback alumni shoots a 49.8 percent effective field goal percentage, 47.1 percent of his 2 pointers, 37.4 three point rate and 44.2 field goals percentage.

To actually peek at the wings shot percentages side by side, you would think the moon has orbited completely parallel to the sun. Pierce had a 50.0 effective field goals, 47.8 2 point percentage, 36.8 3 point conversion rate and a 44.5 field goal percentage. To top it off, they both made and attempted nearly the same number of shots. Joe hits 6.3 field goals per game with 14.2 attempts. Pierce trumps that by less than the hairs on his chin, with 6.5 made field goals on 14.5 attempts.

It should be noted, Joe’s jersey retirement shouldn’t rely upon his favorable comparison with the bean town all-time great, but it really doesn’t hurt. Pierce played 14 of his 18 seasons with the Celtics. In contrast, Joe played only 7 of his 15 seasons with the Hawks thus far. All of his actions with the Hawks are the prime of his accomplishments.

BOSTON, MA – MAY 10: Joe Johnson
BOSTON, MA – MAY 10: Joe Johnson /

He reached his best scoring per game average of his career with the Hawks at 25.0 a night. He made 6 of his 7 all star teams while playing down at Phillips Arena. It was easy to scoff at “Iso Joe” being the Hawks best player with knowledge of his maximum level contract. No one can actually take away the fact that he showed up and did an excellent job as a professional to this very day.

In terms of all-time franchise rankings, Joe unexpectedly does miss the mark. His highest and most significant rankings consist of 6th in total points with 10,606, 6th in total assists with 2,653 and 2nd in 3 pointers made with 908 behind Mookie Blaylock’s 1,050.

For a city that frequently takes the backseat to New England as a sports town, Atlanta could use a small victory. Matt Ryan probably deserves the Super bowl ring that not so long ago eluded him at the expense of Tom Brady. For all of his memories he served up as the Hawks all-star representative, I think another one of Atlanta’s number 2’s should go down in history. Long live “Iso Joe”!