He might be in his 40s, and the Boston Celtics may have passed on the opportunity to retain him for the entirety of last season after he spent some time on the roster courtesy of the hardship exemption, but Joe Johnson is back to doing what he does best – getting buckets.
In a recent video on ‘Iso Joe’s’ Instagram page, the veteran scorer can be seen lighting up the AEBL Pro AM game in Atlanta, proving why he was once of the most feared jump shooters in the NBA throughout his prime.
Throughout the video, Johnson can be seen cooking his opponents with nasty crossovers, sweet hesitation dribbles, his signature pull-up jumper, and fade away. The Arkansas native played two minutes for the Celtics last season, scoring once, but despite his limited playing time, it was his locker room presence that impressed Ime Udoka.
“Just talking to him, and some of the other coaches that have talked to him already, just that veteran, savvy, experienced presence. And what he’s talking about is different than talking to some young guys. That part is unique but needed at times for us,” Udoka said during a December 22 pre-game interview.
Isaiah Thomas Impresses During Drew League Appearance
Johnson isn’t the only former Celtics player to put impress this off-season, as former point guard Isaiah Thomas showed the world he could still score at a high level during a July 30 appearance at the Drew League.
The former MVP candidate ensured he reminded NBA team’s of what he’s capable of, as he went off for 45 points, five assists, while dropping seven of his three-point attempts.
Thomas has been unable to nail down a consistent rotation spot over the last few seasons, and has played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers (twice), Denver Nuggets, Washington Wizards, New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, and Charlotte Hornets since leaving Boston in 2017.
Hopefully, the five-foot-nine guard’s performance at the Drew League can be the catalyst he needs to entice an NBA team into offering him a contract, and actually giving him the opportunity to cement a place as their primary bench scorer.
Celtics Looking for Young Talent at End of Bench
Last season, is was obvious that Boston was looking to add veterans into their rotation, as they aimed to injection some additional leadership into a young, but talented roster. However, judging by the moves Brad Stevens has made this summer, it seems that the Celtics would prefer to fill out their remaining roster spots with players in their mid-20’s who are looking for a second chance in the league.
According to The Athletic’s Jay King, Stevens and the Celtics front office will essentially be holding an open tryout during training camp, where multiple players will get the chance to prove themselves and fight for a contract.
“As of Tuesday, the Celtics mostly were expected to fill out the rest of the training camp roster with young veterans willing to vie for those spots. Recent additions Noah Vonleh and Bruno Caboclo will be in that group, while last year’s two-way player Brodric Thomas and former Kings draft pick Justin Jackson are viewed as strong candidates to join them, league sources told The Athletic.” King wrote in his August 3 column.
Boston can also include recent draft addition JD Davison, and Summer League stand out Mfiondu Kabengele in those roster battles, should they decide their two-way players are safer bets than any of the other talent the evaluate during training camp. However, with Boston’s top 10 players all close to an elite level, whoeever earns a contract for next season will struggle to actually crack the rotation.