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One of the most compelling stories in the NBA this season is the Brooklyn Nets.
The franchise went all hip, moving from Jersey to Brooklyn; swung and missed on a deal for Dwight Howard; instead traded for one of the highest-paid players in the NBA; opened a new arena; commemorated the end of 2012 by firing their coach, Avery Johnson.
New York-based writer Jake Appleman is spending this season shadowing the Nets, working on a book about their inaugural season in the borough.
Jake will be checking in with the Nets throughout the season on
For the first time since the 2007 season, Joe Johnson was not selected to participate in the NBA All-Star game.
To the outsider, Johnson may seem like little more than a soft-spoken volume scorer.
Johnson’s teammates in Brooklyn consistently harp on his quiet nature and "Joe being Joe," but that tells little.
Even among the Nets’ "Core Four," Johnson is hardest to concretely define.
Deron Williams is the franchise player, the borough on his shoulders from the moment you exit the Atlantic Avenue/Barclays Center subway stop, with Williams’ face plastered on underground walls.
Brook Lopez is the most uniquely skilled center in basketball with a categorical knowledge of comic book history.
Gerald Wallace, the team’s X-factor, does everything with an edge, from calling out the Nets’ collective effort to flying into the stands.
What these players do and say immediately represents a greater totality of their personalities or personas.If you pay attention to Joe Johnson, though, the scenery and the stage directions come into the forefront.Upon tenth, twentieth, thirtieth viewing, this makes Johnson subtly but uniquely interesting; everything he does--or that is done to him--is about context.Simple stats--shooting percentage, scoring, etc.--and even simple advanced stats--like Player Efficiency Rating--say Johnson is having a down year, represented by his February vacation.