Saturday, June 23, 2012
Report Cards: Johnson, Moore
By Chris Forsberg
AP Photo/Josh ReynoldsOver the three weeks leading up to start of the new league year on July 1, we'll take a player-by-player look at the Celtics' 2011-12 roster and how each player's season unfolded, assigning a grade for their overall performance. This is the 11th in the series of report cards:
Celtics rookies JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore with Danny Ainge at last summer's introduction.
Players: JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore
2011-12 averages: JJ: 3.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 8.3 mpg; EM: 2.9 ppg, 0.9 apg, 8.7 mpg
2011-12 salary: JJ: $1 million; EM: $474,000
Seasons in a paragraph: Ahhh, the life of a Boston rookie. A taste of the glitz, but not a lot of glamour. The two Purdue products each saw about 300 minutes of regular-season floor time, but often settled for bite-sized chunks at the end of lopsided games. Most of their work came behind the scenes where the Celtics' support staff were working their bodies and games into NBA shape. We saw encouraging bursts from each player -- Johnson's freakish athleticism and Moore's unflappable confidence -- but we'll likely get a better look at their development next month at summer league.
Season highlight: For Johnson, it didn't get any better than a 33-minute run in a 95-91 triumph over the Bulls in mid-February. Johnson connected on 6-of-13 shots for a season-high 12 points (including some highlight-worthy dunks) to go along with four rebounds, two steals and a block. Johnson got some quality burn through February before the rotation tightened up after the All-Star break. When Boston rallied from a 27-point deficit in Orlando in late January, it was Moore who provided a surprising spark in his finest outing of the season. Moore connected on 5-of-6 shots, including all four 3-pointers he hoisted, while scoring 16 points in 18 minutes. Moore's effort earned him some extra time while Keyon Dooling was sidelined due to injury, but he was likewise thin on minutes after the first half of the season.
Season lowlight: Two nights before his outburst against the Bulls, Johnson got a public tongue-lashing from an irate Doc Rivers when he failed to execute an offensive set during a head-shaking loss in Toronto. Johnson bounced back well, but clearly the Celtics wanted him in the playbook more. He spent the playoffs inactive, the team instead going with veteran late-season addition Sean Williams in an active role. Moore didn't have a particularly egregious lowlight. His worst game was a particularly harmless late-January loss to visiting Phoenix in which he missed 5-of-6 shots while chipping in a mere two points to go along with three turnovers.
Final grades: Incomplete.
Teacher's notes: There simply wasn't enough floor time to properly grade the players (though we encourage you to do so in the polls). Like most rookies, there were encouraging glimpses, but the usual stumbles. Rivers often gushed about the duo's work ethic and their easygoing demeanor helped them blend harmlessly into a veteran locker room. We all know how hard it is for true rookies to make an impact in Rivers' system during the Big Three era, so the true test comes next season when roster changes could open more doors.
What's next?: Both Johnson and Moore can expect starring roles as part of Boston's 10-game summer schedule in Orlando and Las Vegas. It's a chance to showcase where they are at against NBA-caliber competition. The work won't stop there, though, as Johnson and Moore need to use the remainder of the offseason to put themselves in position to compete for jobs when camp opens. Johnson's spot is a bit more secure than Moore (who has a non-guaranteed second-year option), but all indications are both will be around with a chance to earn bigger roles.
Honor roll: Click HERE to read past report cards.
Don't agree with teacher? Just want to sound off on Johnson and Moore's 2011-12 seasons? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.