Alize Johnson carving out fans, a future with Nets: ‘He was not going to shrink’

Title: Alize Johnson carving out fans, a future with Nets: ‘He was not going to shrink’
Date: May 14, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Alize Johnson finally getting an NBA opportunity, winning fans in Brooklyn, and building a future with the Nets.

For two NBA seasons, Alize Johnson wondered what could happen if he got an opportunity with the Indiana Pacers. It was against the Pacers, though, when Johnson was introduced to the larger NBA consciousness.

Signed out of the G League in late March, Johnson had a monstrous debut for the Brooklyn Nets before settling into a more standard depth role. With the Pacers on the schedule and multiple rotation players unavailable on April 29, head coach Steve Nash opted to see if there was an Alize Johnson Revenge Game in the midst.

Was there ever. Johnson turned in a 20 and 20 with points and rebounds, becoming just the fourth player to do so off the bench since 1998. It helped deliver a blowout win for the Nets. It swung fantasy basketball playoff matchups for the three percent of owners rostering him. And it affirmed what the Nets had been thinking for weeks: Johnson is an NBA player.

An NBA player with one very notable fan.

“I love everything about Alize,” Kevin Durant said.

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