Dallas Mavericks roster breakdown: James Johnson
When the Mavs traded for James Johnson, he was viewed as a means to get out from under the contract of Delon Wright. The 11-year veteran undoubtedly has his best days of basketball behind him. That is why it has been surprising to see Johnson playing 18.4 minutes a night in Dallas, which is just shy of his career average.
An educated fan has to wonder why though. What exactly does Johnson bring this squad that could warrant that sort of spot in the rotation? Is he a good shooter? Well, no, he has connected on 28 percent of his threes this season. Maybe it’s his off-the-ball play? Never mind. The Mavs grade out better altogether when he’s off the floor. Perhaps he is an analytics darling? Turns out he has the second-worst net rating on the team.
The Mavericks had to get out of the Delon Wright contract, but the deal did not require them to play a 33-year old that does not provide any tangible value to the team. It seems coach Rick Carlisle has realized this as well as Johnson has drawn DNPs in each of the Mavs’ last five games. Almost coincidentally, the Mavs have won four times in that span.