Joe Johnson is starting to play like how the Nets expected him to

Johnson remains one of the leaders on a rebuilding Nets team.
Anthony Gruppuso/Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport

Joe Johnson is in the midst of what might be his worst statistical season ever, but that doesn’t mean he plans on continuing to play this way. Actually, Johnson has picked up his play of late. Whether because of a coaching change which seems to have adjusted the mood of the Nets’ locker room or because the soon-to-be free agent is finally figuring out the season, Johnson has looked like a different player of late.

From Brian Lewis of the New York Post:

“I’m just playing. I don’t think it’s any different from when it was earlier in the season,” Johnson said. “I’m just playing. Obviously I’m making shots, probably a bit more poised now that I’m not trying to force a shot. I’m just taking what the defense gives me.

“If we penetrate and create and make plays for one another, then the ball finds you.’’

Johnson is averaging 14.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in four contests since Tony Brown took over as Nets interim coach. He’s complementing those numbers with superb percentages: 54 percent from the field and 63 percent from long range.

That said, the improving numbers since the Nets fired Lionel Hollins a little more than a week ago could just be coincidental timing. Johnson was starting to feel it before Hollins ever bounced from Brooklyn. He’s actually averaging 14.7 points on 50-53-89 shooting in nine games since the calendar turned over to 2016.

To compare, he was averaging 10.5 points on 35-30-80 shooting through the 2015 portion of this season’s schedule.