The Hawks have improved every season since Joe Johnson came to the team.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
LeBron James gets his name and picture plastered all over the sports and entertainment pages, as does Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard. Meanwhile, working in relative anonymity, Atlanta shooting guard Joe Johnson goes about the business of turning around a franchise.
The year before Johnson arrived in Atlanta (from Phoenix), the Hawks were an ugly 13-69 (.159%) team with not much going for them. Atlanta had a number of individual stars (Kenny Anderson, Josh Childress, Al Harrington, Antoine Walker) but they didn't play as a "team."
Since Johnson's arrival, the facts show that the Hawks have improved every season. Their win total has jumped from 13-to-26-to-30-to-37-to-47 last year. So far in 2009-10, the team is 30-17 (.638%) and right in the mix to grab the No.2 seed behind Cleveland.
Certainly it's not all Johnson's doing. Then rookie forward Josh Smith has greatly improved his play, the team brought in a veteran point guard in Mike Bibby, drafted a smallish but solid center in Al Horford and this season added what is likely the "Sixth Man of the Year" in Jamal Crawford, but the team has taken on Johnson's understated personality.
You may see some fist-pumping on the floor, but not a lot of the self-promoting chest pounding and look-at-me attitude from this Atlanta team. That comes from the top.
Johnson leads the Hawks scoring, posting 21.7 ppg, while adding 4.8 rpg and 4.7 apg. He's been even better over the past week, celebrating his making of another All-Star team by averaging 28.5 ppg over the last four. But more important than the scoring totals (to him, not to fantasy owners) is the fact that Atlanta has won three of the last four and 11 of the past 13 games, including finishing a 4-0 season sweep of the hated Boston Celtics.
The news should continue to be good for Johnson's fantasy owners. Over his career, his best statistical months are February and March.