Iso Joe could be back — and if he is, it would be a big step for the Big3.
Joe Johnson was out of the NBA last season. The season before that, split between Utah and Houston, the former seven-time All-Star struggled to hit from three (27.9 percent), didn’t move well, and was a shadow of his former self. Father time seemed to have won the race with the then 36 year old as he was a below-average player that season.
This summer, Johnson joined the Big3 and has become the league’s MVP, averaging 21.9 points and 3.9 assists per game to lead The Triplets to the championship game this weekend. His play caught the eye of some NBA teams, reports Marc Spears of The Undefeated and ESPN.
If Johnson, now 38, is moving well and has found his stroke again he’s going to garner interest — no team can have enough shooting on the roster. It’s a leap from being able to put up numbers in the Big3 — a halfcourt game against players out of the NBA — and doing it in an NBA setting, but Johnson has played well enough to get looks from several teams.
Obviously, that would be huge for Johnson, who wants back into the NBA.
The perception has been that playing in the Big3, while entertaining, was an admission that your NBA career was over. There has been an exception, Xavier Silas went from the Big3 to a 10-day contract with the Celtics. Also, Josh Childress went from the Big3 to a training camp invite in Denver, but he did not make the roster.
If Johnson can make an NBA roster, it would be a big boost for Ice Cube’s league. Don’t take my word for it, ask Dwyane Wade.
The Big3 has tried to convince players struggling to get an NBA contract — Carmelo Anthony, Jeremy Lin, among others — to use their platform to get back in the league. That pitch has fallen short so far, but if Johnson makes the leap others may try to follow in his footsteps.
The Big3 championship game is this weekend at Staples Center in Los Angeles.