Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Pumping Up My Ego

This is going to serve no other purpose than to make me feel slightly good about myself before we get to the ego-killing task of going through my pre-season NHL picks (Particularly the Eastern Conference).

Here's what I wrote back in July about Amir Johnson, after having watched him in Summer League action:

Amir Johnson: This kid is going to be a player. It might not be anytime soon,
but he's gonna be something. He's big (6'9 or 6'10) but he's very very athletic.
The kid needs to get in the weight room because he's really lanky (he looked
like he's maybe 210 or so). But he's got hops. Man does he have hops. The kid
had 8 points on dunks off missed shots alone. He was crashing the offensive
boards, and taking it back up strong (or just dunking it as it came off the
rim). He can also run the floor. He's got good speed for a big guy. He also had
a couple nice passes. I came away very impressed. One thing about him....kid's
got the most jacked up shot I've ever seen. I didn't get to see him take any
outside shots, but I can see why the knock on him was that he gets shots blocked
by smaller players. His shot starts around his belly button and he releases it
by the time it's at eye level. Really really odd shooting motion. They're gonna
need to work on that. At the very worst, he'll be an energy guy off the bench
who can get the crowd fired up. Worst case he's Ronald Dupree. But I think he's
gonna be a player.

Last night: 18 minutes, 6-6 from the field, 2-2 from 3 pt range, 4-4 at the line, 18 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists.

Now, I don't want to say that he's going to make people forget about the Darko fiasco, but let's put it this way: Amir Johnson's career high in points (18) is now higher than Darko Milicic's (16). Just saying. And I'm not all that uncertain that his ongoing development didn't play some role in Dumars pulling the trigger on moving Darko.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the sky is the limit for Johnson. His athleticism is just off the chart, he can really move for a tall guy, and he's just a kid. I don't want to read too much into one game, but I've thought all along that Dumars might have struck gold with this kid.

Now it's time to revisit my NHL picks...
::hides eyes::

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