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JaJuan Johnson picked KG’s brain all season long

John - Red's Army (@RedsArmy_John) June 19, 2012 Celtics News, JaJuan Johnson, Kevin Garnett 5 Comments

We’re a bit obsessed with Kevin Garnett, because Kevin Garnett is the trigger to the entire Celtics offseason.  He’s also a freak of nature who played some amazingly great basketball at 36 years old, after 17 years in the league, at the end of a compressed season that killed everyone physically.  The simple fact is, he’s still good, so we still want him.

There’s another reason we really want him back.  Because the guy we all hope will eventually replace him, JaJuan Johnson, is still learning… and we want him to keep doing things like this.

“I sat across from him on the plane, so we’d talk every flight,” Johnson told CSNNE.com. “He’s all about listening. If you listen to him, he’s going to share anything with you, so it’s pretty cool.”

Johnson didn’t have much opportunity for playing time on a veteran squad in his first year. But perhaps just as valuable was the time he had with his teammates, including Garnett and Rajon Rondo, who he developed strong relationships with over the season.

“It makes it easy just because I feel comfortable enough where I can ask about anything and they’re going to give me an honest answer,” Johnson, 23, said. “You’ve got to really appreciate that because even though this is my first year, I feel like a lot of the other rookies didn’t have a chance to do what myself and E’Twaun [Moore] and Greg [Stiemsma] did.”

You’ve got a sensei sitting there with nearly two decades of NBA knowledge just waiting to impart it on the kids.  You can only hope that an offseason with KG’s words rattling in his head can help JJ grow.  And ideally, Johnson can come back from that offseason with MORE questions for KG, and more moves to show KG, and more confidence to bang with KG in practice. 

Sometimes NBA success is part luck.  JaJuan Johnson is one of those lucky guys to have perhaps the best ever at his position, with a very similar build and style, right there to teach him every day.  The bad luck this year came with the lack of practices due to the lockout.  Next year will be imperative to the continued development of Johnson, E’Twaun Moore and whatever young guys are on the roster because they’ll get an actual offseason, summer league, and practices.   These guys need KG around to teach them more. 

I don’t care that Kevin Garnett’s disdain for the media makes him the so-called worst interview in the league.  His love for the game and desire to teach it to young teammates makes him one of the most valuable guys to have on your roster.

Photo credit:  ESPN Boston

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  • screaming jay

    Amen!

  • Nick Sannicandro

    WAY too many Celtics “fans” are so willing and ready to just write JJJ off because he didn’t see much floor time this year, I think that is absolute nonsense on two levels

    A. How soon we all forget that AVERY BRADLEY was the one that saw no floor time last year, almost was cut during training camp according to “rumors” and was written off by Celtics fans, how much a year can change huh?

    B. When on the floor, JJJ showed some promise, yes he showed that he has holes in his game but I saw alot that I liked out of him. the fact that he is smart enough to b picking the brain of a future HOFer says to me this kids got his head on straight and is taking steps forward

  • Go Celtics

    If this guy becomes 50% of KG I will be stoked!

  • paul

    KG’s teaching is why we want him back. Period. I mean, he can still play, but realistically, we should expect reduced minutes from him, if he does come back. And let’s get real, people. He was amazing last year, but he was NOT 20 million dollars worth of amazing. For God’s sake. But his teaching and leadership – that’s what we need. I’m convinced that KG can lead a gang of Bigs. We won’t have one dominating Big next year, if he returns, most likely. We’ll have a gang of Bigs, led, harangued, herded by KG.

    KG is a great interview, not a bad one.

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