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JaJuan Johnson: What to JaWatch For

Early reports have indicated that JaJuan Johnson may start for the Celtics tonight due to injuries in the frontcourt. Up until now Johnson was most famous for losing to VCU in the Round of 32 and for people thinking his name was spelled JuJuan. Tonight, with Garnett and Bass both potentially shelved, he has a chance to raise his profile a bit. Here are a few things to expect tonight from Johnson.

Spotting Up Every Possession

Johnson takes more shots from 16-23 feet than anywhere else on the floor. He doesn’t have much of a post game (even though he’s legitimately 6’10”) because he looks like Jack Skellington, so he gets his points around the perimeter. This is okay because a) he’ll slot in nicely on offense for KG, who takes an even higher percentage of his shots from that area than Johnson does, and b) the Detroit frontcourt isn’t going to pay much attention to him on the perimeter. Jason Maxiell is a total rebound hound, and he’s probably too short to even interfere with Johnson’s crazy-high release point on his jumper. Look for Johnson to set up a small campsite around the arc tonight.

Potentially Getting Broken in Half by Jason Maxiell and Greg Monroe

Detroit has one of the stronger frontcourts in basketball: Maxiell is four inches shorter than Johnson, but also significantly stronger and more homicidal. Greg Monroe also put on some weight this season and probably should have made the All-Star team because of it. They’re large.

Meanwhile, JaJuan’s center of gravity is basically in his forehead. He gets pushed off the block like a Tonka truck. He’s going to have a lot of trouble getting points at the basket without sacrificing his life. On defense, he’d almost certainly be better off guarding Tayshaun Prince: Johnson is faster and probably Tayshaun’s equal in per-minute boniness. Instead, Maxiell and Monroe are probably going to score a lot and eat 20 boards between them tonight, possibly also Johnson by accident.

Fast-Breaking to Victory

Johnson is very fast for his size, and he can jump super high (much higher than KG). He had the highest touch height at last year’s combine. There’s no reason he and Rondo shouldn’t collaborate on a few fast-break projects tonight. Ryan’s written a lot on how much more efficiently the C’s offense runs in transition, but the transition game is especially well-suited for Johnson’s abilities. Run it out, Boston! Establish Massachusetts as a Lob Commonwealth! Gandalf has a message for Rondo and JaJuan:

PREDICTION: 14 points on 6-11 shooting, 6 boards

  • CelticsBIG3

    Oops I spelled his name JuJuan earlier… I hope he really gets out and gets it going tonight. Crack twenty points and get some big blocks on the defensive end.

  • http://twitter.com/michaeljavid @michaeljavid

    If he just plays within his game, he has all the tools to have great production tonight. You can expect the starters to find him for his share of opportunities

  • hdavenport

    Johnson may not have to start after all, according to The Sherrod Blakely:

  • ripsonics

    How I knew Hayes wrote this article: "Maxiell is four inches shorter than Johnson, but also significantly stronger and more homicidal."

    I like JJJ's game.. and last week I wrote about how Doc won't use his because he doesnt trust him on D in big game situations.. Doc will use him (apparently) if there is no one else to use! He played well against Chicago, but he is still a legitimate liability on the defensive end, until proven otherwise.

    Rondo.. if you want to put your haters (me) to rest.. come out and play aggressively tonight. Don't walk the ball up the court every possession cause its Detroit, and they suck. Ppl. get up to play Boston, so I'd say put them in their place early, and be done with it. Boston 95 – 82

    Go C's

  • I_Love_Green

    I hope KG just sits this one out tonight. He could use the rest, and I'd love to see JJJ in the starting lineup.

    • ripsonics

      seriously.. if we were less injured, I'd like to rest Ray and Paul.. but seeing as pietrus is doubtful for the knee, and dooling just came back… i'd be nervous to do that.

      Definitely rest KG tho.. I think we'll be ok. The team has had so much time off, that resting the big ticket shouldn't be too bad.

  • Batman

    Somes of these puns….
    Come on Hayes

    • hdavenport

      You're saying there should be more puns? I will work on that.

    • Josh

      I shouldn't do this, but i think they're usually pretty good!

  • sion

    ha. per-minute boniness is a terrific stat. and for jjj to match tayshaun, well, that's a league leader in boniness right there.

    • CG12

      Austin Daye objects to that.

    • hdavenport

      As someone who has conducted a rigorous scientific study on this subject, I submit Corey Brewer. http://celticshub.com/2011/01/11/celtics-post-str

      • http://twitter.com/michaeljavid @michaeljavid

        Durant has got to be up there too…

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