With the OKC Thunder developing young talent, should they risk signing Joe Johnson in a mentorship role?
The OKC Thunder has been a competitive team this season. Their record does not suggest how close they came to beating some of the top teams in the association. The good news is there are no expectation’s on the team as it is a year of development.
Guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dennis Schroder, Hamidou Diallo, and Deonte Burton are all being mentored by one of the best in the game Chris Paul. He has taken the group under his wing and is mentoring them almost every play.
The centers are all experienced, Steven Adams was mentored by Nick Collison and is one of the hardest working players in the league. Nerlens Noel spent time with a number of teams and is already defensively sound.
However, the young forwards Terrance Ferguson and Darius Bazley are in need of some guidance from an experienced player. This could be where Joe Johnson comes into the picture. Johnson is a vastly experienced small forward who has played 1276 games in a long and storied career.
Last season Johnson played 23 games for the Houston Rockets. He finished the season with the franchise, playing eight playoff games as well. He then played in the Big3 tournament, showing that he was still capable punctuated by him winning the Big3 MVP award.
He then signed with the Detroit Pistons in the pre-season as a free agent, fighting to regain a roster spot in the NBA. Unfortunately for Johnson, the Pistons went with Christian Wood. That could be extremely beneficial for the young Thunder forwards.
Johnson could mentor these players for the season, taking up the roster spot of Abdel Nader and developing their understanding of the game. In my opinion, it is worth the risk of signing the veteran for the remainder of the season.
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