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Fantasy Analysis: The Joe Johnson Trade
August 24, 2005

The deal that will send Joe Johnson to the Atlanta Hawks has finally been completed.  The package the Hawks sent back to the Suns included Boris Diaw and some conditional first round picks.  Johnson made a name for himself last season shooting a stellar 47.8% from three point range...and he wasn't necessarily being picky about his shot selection taking an Antoine Walker-ish 4.5 attempts per game.  In his previous two season he shot only 33% from three point range.  To make such an improvement he must have really practiced - OR more likely he reaped the benefits gathering the least attention of the vaunted starting five for the Suns.  With Stoudemire commanding attention down low and Nash's crafty passing, Johnson enjoyed many good looks.  This will not happen in Atlanta.  Look for Johnson's three point percentage to be back in the low 30's next season with an associated drop in scoring.

The Hawk's three best players (that would include JJ, Josh Childress, and Josh Smith) play the same swing GF position.  They don't have a point guard so they decided to call Joe Johnson a point guard.  While you would think that would bode well for his assists, it is unlikely he will see much improvement on the 3.6 apg he averaged for the Suns.  The Hawks next two best players, Al Harrington and Marvin Williams, are best suited to play the small forward position.  So there is FIVE swing type of players. The addition of Johnson puts in doubt how many of the stable of swing men the Hawks have will be on the court at the same time.  In terms of lost fantasy value, Al Harrington is at risk unless he shows he can handle the PF position.  Last season he averaged 7 rebounds per game but it took him nearly 39 mpg to achieve that.  He may be thrown to the wolves there as the Hawks don't have manyother choices. If Marvin Williams has some of the potential that is expected from him it will also put Al Harrington's playing time at risk. 

Johnson put up some decent numbers last season but it took him nearly 40 mpg on a fast paced Suns offense to accumulate.  Fantasy managers should not be fooled into thinking the big contract he got means he will be generating big stats for the Hawks. The one thing he should do though is show up as his attendance record in his four years in the NBA has been outstanding.  The other Josh's should continue to develop as they have some obvious talent.

Completely lost in all of this is Boris Diaw, an intriguing player, who came from Atlanta -and guess what position he plays - swing man. Must have been tough for the Hawks to give up one of their precious swing men. Oddly, the Suns have less depth at his position with Raja Bell likely starting at SG and Shawn Marion likely moving back to SF.  However the opportunity may arise for Diaw when the Suns want to have Marion playing PF periodically and Diaw should benefit offensively playing in the Suns system with Steve Nash. He has shown some potential on a per minute basis in the A, R, S, and B categories (for a guard) and the Suns should help to bolster his previously weak offensive game.  If there is any winner (fantasy-wise) in this whole deal I would say it is Diaw.  The question is whether your league will be deep enough to add him to your roster in the late rounds.  Find that out that and more by ordering The HoopsKlyce Customized Player Rating Report for the 2005-2006 season.

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