He is the second player named Chris Johnson in NBA history, and he is the second man with that name to officially put on a Celtics jersey. The first clue that made fans feel like the second coming of Chris Johnson would be a better one was that he was not donning No. 86. However, he has worn No. 12 for his 12 games played this season and with how well Johnson is performing in his second year in the NBA, he is on the verge of making a “name” for himself.
The undrafted man out of the University of Dayton, who ironically played with the Brooklyn Nets’ preseason squad four months ago, has yet to play 250 minutes as a Celtic, but his contract, which was extended recently, allows the Celtics to keep him for years to come. Speaking of minutes, do you know who has played the fifth-most minutes in the Celtics’ last dozen games? Chris Johnson. Although he did not score on Wednesday against the Spurs, he has made a tremendous impact on Boston during his short time with the team.
I understand we are talking about a small sample size and there are 28 games left in the season, but there are some very interesting numbers about Johnson’s tenure with the Celtics. His team-best plus/minus of positive 54 this season is 39 points better than Jared Sullinger’s. Specifically, Johnson’s plus/minus of positive 57 in February is the sixth-best one in the league. In addition, he is the only player to have a plus/minus of at least positive 50 this month when playing fewer than 100 minutes.
Yes, I know this might be going a little far because he is a second-unit man, but there is an argument for Johnson being one of the most valuable players in February thus far. When he is on the floor, the Celtics have a net effective field goal percentage (team effective field goal percentage minus opposing effective field goal percentage) of positive 15.6 percent. That ranks as the best of any NBA player with at least 70 minutes this month.
Now, let us take a step away from the frustrating unreliability of the plus/minus statistic and go to what the new NBA is prizing more than ever: the 3-point shot. Johnson’s Celtics-best 2.6 made 3-pointers per 36 minutes is on pace to be the best for a man in green since Eddie House in 2009-10; and no, Ray Allen never made that many 3-pointers per 36 minutes in a single season as a Celtic.
Another fun fact about Johnson is that he and Kyle Korver are the only Eastern Conference players to shoot at least 45 percent from 3-point this season (minimum 30 attempts from deep). Interestingly, during Johnson’s brief Celtics career, he has made more 3-pointers than he has 2-pointers, he has attempted more 3-pointers than he has 2-pointers and he has shot better from 3-point than he has from 2-point.
Johnson’s 3-point barrage is something that could put him into an obscure section of Celtics record books. It is unlikely, but if Johnson were to finish this season with at least 2.6 made 3-pointers per 36 minutes and shoot at least 45 percent from 3-point, then he would become the first Celtic to ever accomplish that feat. I will channel my inner-Kevin Garnett for this one.