Title: Introducing the ‘He Shoulda Played More’ Toronto Raptors all-stars
Date: April 3, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, Eric Koreen and I teamed up to highlight the players in Raptors history who were done the most playing time injustice in the eyes of fans (or us).
After Game 1 of the 2015 first round series between the Raptors and the Wizards, the Toronto fan base had one massive question: Where was James Johnson?
Johnson had been a vital part of the success of the Raptors’ bench that year. The second unit was led by sixth man of the year Lou Williams, but Johnson expertly played bully ball, lumbering his way to the rim for nifty layups. Prior to that year, Johnson had never shot better than 46.4 percent from the field; in 2014-15, he shot 58.9 percent in 70 games.
Better yet, he had the defensive flexibility — quick feet but a strong body — to guard a bunch of positions. Well, at least in theory. As the Wizards broke out a smaller lineup with Paul Pierce at power forward and broke the game open in the third quarter, fans could be heard yelling for Johnson. Dwane Casey did not relent. The Raptors forced overtime, but the Wizards won as Pierce scored a game-high 20-points, largely as the de facto power forward. Johnson picked up a DNP-CD.