Joe Johnson may be one of the most frustrating employees of the Association. Blessed with superstar talent, Johnson has never quite filled out the superstar suit. He always seems to be missing something, and that something is the heart to be the best.
Johnson is one of the most talented players in the Association, but he struggles to keep the desire burning. He has a phenomenal shot, even beyond the 3-point arc, and he has the ability to drive to the hoop like the best slashers in the game. If he developed the heart to win and succeed, like that of Kobe or Wade, Johnson would be considered on of the top 5 players in the game.
Drafted by the Celtics in the first round out of the University of Arkansas, Johnson didn’t have much time to adjust to Beantown before he had to move again. Traded to the Phoenix Suns midway through his first season, Johnson was forced to start fresh again. Johnson would finally reach some level of success with the Suns when Phoenix brought in Steve Nash to orchestrate the high wire act in the desert. Along with Quentin Richardson, Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudemire, and Nash, the Suns would reach the playoffs and find the most success Phoenix had for many seasons clinching home court advantage throughout the playoffs. However, there efforts were thwarted by the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs. Johnson averaged 18.3 PPG against the Spurs, peaking interest from several teams around the league.
Now considered a star on the rise, Johnson became the most enticing free agent in 2005. After much negotiation, the Johnson reached a deal with the Atlanta Hawks struggling organization and a sign-and-trade deal was reached with Phoenix. The Hawks hoped that they had landed their first legitimate star since Dominique Wilkins had left many years before. Teamed with young studs in the years to come, such as Al Horford, Josh Smith, and Marvin Williams, Johnson was supposed to lead the Hawks to glory. Unfortunately for Hawks fans, Atlanta has faced extremely stiff competition with the Celtics and the Cavs defeating Atlanta in back to back years.
If Johnson manages to find a heart, everyone in the Association had better watch out because a true superstar would emerge from the depths of Georgia. Joe Johnson, despite all of his considerable talents, manages to stay stuck in the proverbial mud of underachievement.