J.J. Gets Busy On The Perimeter

Blocking 3-pointers consistently is not an easy job, but James Johnson has to do it.

The most recent entrant into the Top Plays Theatre for his ability with the basketball, Johnson is even better on the other side. Since being called up from a D-League stint in late December, he has developed a habit of annoying the best shooters on the wings and in the corners. He is a good shot blocker inside the arc, but shooters aren’t any safer from deep.

VIDEO: James Johnson carves out his niche for the Grizzlies on the defensive perimeter

As Kevin Durant and James Harden found out multiple times, the 6-foot-9 Johnson has the activity level of a young Gerald Wallace (you don’t earn the nickname “Crash” for nothing) and Josh Smith, using any opportunity to terrorize whoever tries to launch from deep. When a shooter crouches to get in position, he takes it personal, using short powerful bursts and exquisite timing to close space fast.

He does this without fouling, which is perhaps the rub. Many players have the ability. A few have the willingness. But how many are skillful enough to keep pulling it off? James Johnson may not be a household moniker (outside of Memphis anyway), but you better believe that opposing coaches know who he is. The name may be plain, but the man has game.


  1. lbjk says:

    being called up from a D-League stint in late December won’t bring you a title; you need to join the heat and the king “LeBron”

  2. Boston Fan says:

    Mike Conley-1
    Tony Allen-2
    James Johnson-3 > Better defensive team in the Nba
    Mark Gasol-5

  3. kz says:

    james johnson should have entered the dunk contest!

  4. Anthony says:

    We need James Johnson on the Knicks!!
    We’ll definitely win more games with his defense

  5. Cain says:

    James J has been a great find for the Griz.
    I can’t understand why teams don’t look for productive players out of the d-league are those productive under the radar players across the league to better there respective teams, for an example Scott from Atlanta is another cheap player who has shown a consistent ability to be productive on a nightly basis without costing the team.
    Him, JJ and a few others I could mention would be much better alternatives to some of the blockbuster trades and salaries offered to NBA players who suddenly regress after securing their salaries.
    G Green was another one who spent a couple of years in the d league, he’s having a great season after impressing in the d league before Indiana.