After losing their last two games on their season long road trip, one thing has been clear for the Brooklyn Nets: Joe Johnson is more valuable than his stats say. Joe has missed the last four games of the Nets’ road trip and the Nets went 2-2 in that time, beating two bad teams and losing to two pretty good ones.
But since Joe Johnson’s injury, the biggest difference in how the Nets have played has been their defense. Johnson plays underrated D and this gets lost in the box score. Although he will never lead the team in steals or blocks, he can guard just about any shooting guard or small forward in basketball and not give up many easy baskets.
The same cannot be said about his replacement, Marshon Brooks. Although Marshon brings exciting offense to the Nets, his defense really is not very good. Last night in Utah, he was the main cause for Randy Foye’s magnificent shooting night. Although Marshon wasn’t guarding Foye the entire time, his bad defense at the start of Foye’s shooting performance got Foye hot and in the mood to not miss. Therefore, when Deron Williams or C.J. Watson switched onto him, he was still not missing any shots.
The good news for the Nets is that Joe Johnson was warming up before last night’s game and looks to be close to returning to the lineup. Hopefully he will be back in the Nets’ next game on Wednesday in Cleveland.