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Nets-Jazz Preview (Joe Johnson returns)

Oct 17, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz forward Joe Johnson (6) dribbles the ball during the first half against the Los Angeles Clippers at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Jazz won 104-78. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

January 1st 2017

The Big 3,” is a term often used in the NBA to describe a team with three very talented players on their rosters. They tend to be all all-stars and usually they join forces via trade or through free agency. The Boston Celtics in 2007 with Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and lets not forget that other big three in Miami (2010) with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Here in Brooklyn the Nets also attempted to form such a group with Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson however like the previously mentioned teams, Brooklyn’s trio is no more.

 

Joe Johnson was the last piece added to the puzzle for the Nets in 2012 after he was acquired via trade with the Atlanta Hawks. Already a formidable scorer in the league the Nets looked for him to bring firepower to the roster to add to the playmaking ability of Williams who they acquired via trade in the previous season.

 

Johnson wasn’t sharp early but he picked up his offense very quickly during his first season in Brooklyn. He hit some notable buzzer beating shots and proved to be that consistent threat on the offensive end that the Nets envisioned when they acquired him.

 

Johnson played with the Nets until February 2016 when he was bought out of his contract by the team. He has since played with the Miami Heat and signed last offseason with the Utah Jazz for 2 years and $22 million.

 

The Nets face the Jazz in their first game of 2017; Joe Johnson will make his return to the Barclays Center to face some old teammates. At this stage of his career Johnson is coming off the bench and providing a leadership role to the up and coming young squad in Utah. However he can still be that offensive punch that the teams needs as was evidenced by his performance in the first game of the season when he scored 29-points as he played in the starting line-up for the injured Gordon Hayward.

 

The Jazz are 21-13 and they are looking to make it to the playoffs for the first time since the 2011-2012 season. Hayward has been impressive and has really elevated his game this season. Rodney Hood, another young star for the Jazz, is great defensively and also provides some production offensively. Johnson’s leadership off the bench may not be the exact reason why the Jazz are playing at such a high level but it definitely helps as they look to be a contender in the western conference.

 

The Nets are currently in a funk; they are 8-24 on the season and have only won 2 of their last 10 games. The Nets look to try to turn things around to begin the New Year. The team is trying to remain positive through this tough stretch. The Nets face the Jazz tomorrow (January 2nd 2017) at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.

 

Sherman Gomez is a staff writer for PureSportsNY, follow him on Twitter at Sherman@shermangmz1

Photo Credit: Russ Isabella USA Today Sports

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