Well, well, well. While the Clippers have brought in a handful of untested players to compete in training camp for their last roster spot, they might also have interest in someone who’s the opposite of untested. To be more specific, per Marc Spears of the Undefeated, they will workout Joe Johnson, the 17-year NBA vet 7-time All Star.
Johnson didn’t play in the NBA last season after a rough 23 game stint with the Rockets in 2018, so he hasn’t played significant NBA minutes in over a year. On the other hand, he’s been absolutely carving up the Big 3, which yes, is just the Big 3, but still. His shot looks as buttery as ever, and his size, which enables him to shoot over the top of most defenders, is obviously not changing.
Johnson can definitely still score, and probably score with decent efficiency on a second unit where he can pick mismatches and doesn’t have to create. The issue comes at the other end, where the 38 year old Iso Joe simply doesn’t have the foot speed to stick with perimeter players, and possibly not even stretch bigs at this point. He knows the game backwards and forwards and puts forth zero effort, but probably can’t be relied upon for crucial minutes at this point in his career.
In terms of the Clippers, specifically, it’s somewhat of an odd fit. The Clippers are weakest at point guard and center, and Johnson can play (or at least attempt to) every position but those two. He could certainly provide spot minutes, and would be especially useful on games where Kawhi Leonard and Paul George rest for load management due to his offensive creation abilities, but he doesn’t seem like as useful an addition as, say, Joakim Noah (though at this point, it seems like he might be looking for an NBA role and/or salary which just isn’t there).
On the other hand, Johnson is an NBA legend (yeah, I said it), and it would be absolutely awesome if he would win a ring with the Clippers this late into his career. He was useful in the NBA as recently as two seasons ago, and his play in the Big 3 is certainly inspiring. It seems like he will have options on contending teams (he’s working out with the Bucks, Nuggets, Clippers, and Sixers, who all have championship aspirations next season), so the Clippers might not land him even if they want him. If they do, while I don’t necessarily think he’s the best choice, I could see him helping the Clippers next season, which is all you can ask for the 15th spot on the roster.
Ex-NBA guard Joe Johnson is in Philadelphia and is working out for the Sixers tomorrow, a source told @espn @TheUndefeated. The MVP of @thebig3 also is expected to work out for the Clippers, Bucks & Nuggets. Joe Johnson & the Triplets are playing in the Big 3 title game Sunday.— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) August 28, 2019