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Monday September 18, 2006 11:24 pm

Dropping Dimes Draft Blog: Round 3, Pick 7

Joe JohnsonIs it a stretch that Tim Duncan will top 20 ppg again? No. What about 70% from the line? Well that is another story, is it not? It is important to slowly creep that FT% for this team up to a competitive standard.  I also want to address having Arenas as my lead guard, because as hype as he is, he is not a 8-10 per game dime dropper. Plus I want to take advantage of Gilbert’s strength in treys and TD’s dominating boards. Looks like it is time for a player with a mean game but ordinary name.

Round 3, Pick 7: Joe Johnson, PG/SG, Atlanta Hawks

On the plus side…

Johnson showed that despite cashing in on a big contract and playing for a terrible team, he has become a fantasy star. Let us start with the obvious; he can put the ball through the hoop. With Speedy Claxton signed on to be the starting point guard, Johnson will be given the ball in spots where he can go to work. He has shot over 45% from the field in the past two seasons, which is a good number for a guard. He can hit the trey (1.6 per game last year). At this point in the draft, he is the only 20+ ppg scorer who also averages 1.3 or more steals per game. His FT% was a solid 79.1% last season and he did this while doubling his trips to the line. With Johnson, this team now sports a 75.4% average from the line using stats from last season. This is not a mind-blowing number admittedly, but these three guys get to the line so much that there will be weeks where their FT% total spikes up from hot shooting. Johnson will also be a steady contributor in rebounds (4-5 a game) from a guard spot.

On the flip side…

Last season Joe Johnson was the only combo guard not named Dwyane Wade to penetrate the list of point guards that dominate the assist category. But with Claxton now on the team, Johnson will not have to be the point-forward as much. Thus his dime dropping may drop from 6.5 a game last year to about 4-5 a game. This will still be good, but the difference is significant. The good news is that even with a decline in assists, he will still out-dish many shooting guards that will be starting on other fantasy teams.

The other major dent in Johnson’s game has already been well established. He can be a big source of turnovers, averaging 3.3 a game last season. Hopefully with a realiable point guard to defer to this year, Johnson’s miscues will drop to under 2.5 a game. He was able to protect the ball at this level while playing alongside Steve Nash. Not that Claxton is Nash, but his presence should help Johnson control the number of times he gives up the rock.

The final score…

Johnson is not a pure point guard, but his game still helps this team in FT%, 3’s, assists and points. His boards and steals also complement the top two picks here. In the next few rounds, I will be looking for players that can continue to help improve my FT%, but another big-time rebounder and/or a point guard who can dish and shoot are also desired.

Other Team Members:

1.7 Gilbert Arenas
2.6 Tim Duncan

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