The knowledge that we’ll likely be facing an NBA lockout soon premised on the idea that the league’s owners can’t afford to keep paying their players so much makes it especially hard to look at some of the crazy deals that those very same owners hand out voluntarity. To wit, the Atlanta Hawks want to pay Joe Johnson $119 million over six years.
Johnson is a prototypical overrated NBA player. A perimeter scorer on a middling team who takes a lot of shots and therefore scores a lot without being notably efficient at it or notable good at any other aspect of the game. He’s not a bad player. In fact, he’s a good one. But he’s not great. And at his current age, the odds are that Atlanta is purchasing a declining asset. What’s odder is that nobody seems to deny this. Nobody thinks Johnson is going to improve. Nobody thinks Johnson is one of the top ten players in the game. Nobody thinks “Joe Johnson plus guys who are worse than Joe Johnson” sounds like a recipe for a championship.