Amir Johnson is the oldest 30 year old ever. I don’t know exactly what injuries he has or if he’s just lost a step or two in recent years, but the guy just doesn’t move that well anymore. All signs point to Johnson moving on from the Boston Celtics and I think that’s probably for the best for everyone.
However, that doesn’t mean I don’t like the guy or didn’t appreciate what he did for this team. In fact, I’m really going to miss the big guy for a number of reasons.
First of all he was reliable. You knew what you were getting from him and you knew he understood his place and role on the team. Brad Stevens trusted him in the starting lineup even when it was clear that Johnson was limited. Part of that was due to lack of better options, but a good deal of it was due to familiarity. Sometimes you just need a guy out there that isn’t going to get in the way of the rest of what you are trying to do.
Secondly, he was a likable veteran leader that I’ve yet to hear anyone say a bad word about. There are a few guys like that on the Celtics but I don’t think it is something to be overlooked or dismissed. There are plenty of knuckleheads in the league and there are young guys on this team that need good examples to look up to.
Third, every once in awhile Johnson would have a few fleeting moments where he reminded you of how talented he was. Rolling to the rim for an alley-oop dunk. Pulling up for a 3 pointer that took 4 hours to release in that ridiculous windup but somehow it very often went in. Or perhaps something as subtle as setting a really solid screen to free up Avery Bradley for an open look.
It was obvious by the end of the playoffs that Johnson was becoming obsolete for the Celtics, in particular at his cap number, but he was valuable more often than not during his tenure. So if, in fact, he’s played his last game as a Celtic, I’ll remember him fondly.