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Sell High Candidate: Joe Johnson

So far this season, Joe Johnson is having one of the best season's of his career, but at age 33, can he keep it up?

Alex Goodlett

Joe Johnson is off to a really hot start this season, with 19.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.2 threes, and fantasy owners who took him at his ADP of 72 are really reaping benefits from Johnson's sudden improvement to fantasy usefulness. An excited, and unknowing fantasy owner might see this, and try to trade for Johnson, and you should let them have him, because there's no way Johnson keeps these numbers up. All data is from before today's (Thursday) game against the Warriors.

Joe Johnson's Scoring Numbers

Joe Johnson has always been a big scorer, he averaged over 20 points a game, his current average, in all but two of his seven seasons in Atlanta, but he was never particularly efficient, as he only twice had a true shooting percentage above 54%, league average last season, but this season, at age 33, Johnson is setting a career high in true shooting percentage, with 56.7%, although it's not much higher then last season's 56.4%, it's not normal to set a career high in shooting efficiency at age 33.

Johnson's usage rate has had a big bump to 26.8%, the second highest of his career, but that's sure to go down with the return of Brook Lopez, who's usage rate has eclipsed 27% each of the past four injury plagued seasons, so Johnson's usage is guaranteed to go down once Lopez gets in to game form, I mean there's a reason why Johnson's two best games were the two before Bropez returned.

Another way Brook Lopez will contribute to a regression by Joe Johnson is through his clogging of the lane. In the two games before Lopez' return (small sample size, so obviously take with a grain of salt), 47.6%  of Johnson's shots came in the paint, but after the return of Lopez only 41.4% of his shots came from there, and even that's heavily weighted by the night against the T-Wolves, when Johnson was able to bully Wiggins into the paint, and took nine out of his seventeen shots from there. Why does this matter? If Johnson is shooting from the key, it means he's taking a higher percentage shot, and is more likely to score, benefiting owners with there field goal percentage and points, as opposed to threes where, despite his early success this year, history says he isn't particularly accurate. All of this data was from NBASavant.com.

Joe Johnson's Rebound Numbers

Joe Johnson is currently setting a career high in total rebounds per game, with 5.7 per, this is only .6 rebounds per game higher then his previous career high, but because Johnson is playing three minutes less per game then his career average, the difference becomes more significant per 36, as he's averaging 1.4 more rebounds more per 36 since his previous career high, and 2.2 more then his career average, not only that, but his three most recent seasons, which should be considered most important in a projection of his stats, have all been below his career average.

Another thing benefiting Joe Johnson's rebound numbers is an increase in rebound opportunities, which NBA.com's SportVU defines as anytime a player is within 3.5 feet of the rebound. So far this season, Joe Johnson has averaged 8.4 rebound opportunities per game, and has converted on 67.8% of them, but last year, Johnson only got only 5.2 opportunities, and converted on 65.4% of them. Obviously we can't see Johnson's career averages, because SportVU has only been tracking since last season, so we can't be sure this is an anomaly, but last year had a bigger sample size, so it's probably more accurate.

Joe Johnson is much improved this season, but all of these stats lead me to believe that Joe Johnson won't keep these numbers up, and through two quarters against the Warriors tonight, Johnson doesn't look good, so if you can succeed to sell high on him, I don't see why not.

-Hashtagtroll