James Johnson
James Johnson
33-Year-Old ForwardF
Minnesota Timberwolves
2019 Fantasy Outlook
After finishing with a double-digit scoring average in his first two years with the Heat, Johnson's production dipped considerably across 55 games this past season. Those first two years in Miami are the only campaigns in Johnson's 10-year career that he has averaged more than 9.1 points per game. Moreover, after averaging 27.4 and 26.6 minutes in 2016-17 and 2017-18, respectively, Johnson earned just 21.2 minutes per night in 2018-19. The 32-year-old forward was slowed by abdomen and shoulder injuries, which resulted in his fewest appearances since 2013-14. Despite the down year, Johnson remains a well-rounded and versatile statistical contributor. Still, he's firmly behind Jimmy Butler, Justise Winslow and Goran Dragic in the pecking order offensively. Meanwhile, Dion Waiters is yet to meet a shot he didn't like, and Miami's roster is a deep one. All in all, if Johnson is going to enjoy a bounce-back year in 2019-20, he'll need to stay healthy first and foremost, but he'll also need to hold off the younger and spryer Derrick Jones Jr. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a three-year, $43.3 million contract with the Heat in July of 2017. Traded to the Timberwolves in February of 2020. Contract includes $15.83 million player option for 2020-21.
Personal Bio

James Patrick Johnson was born in 1987 in Brooklyn, New York. The son of Willie and Vi Johnson, he is one of nine children. Johnson has six brothers and two sisters. Johnson's father is a seven-time world kickboxing champion, while his mother is a five-time kickboxing nationals champion. James holds a second-degree black belt, and he fought in his first mixed martial arts bout at age 18, winning in 97 seconds. Johnson has fought MMA matches in three different states and holds an undefeated record. He attended high school at Cheyenne East in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He played his collegiate ball at Wake Forest University. Follow Johnson on Instagram (@james16johnson_) and Twitter (iamjj16).

College/International Summary

Johnson joined Jeff Teague in the 2007 Demon Deacon recruiting class to give Wake Forest some power in the ACC. The 6-foot-8 forward started as a freshman and quickly gave the team a post presence. He averaged 14.6 points and 8.1 rebounds and did not slouch on defense with 1.4 steals and 1.3 blocks. Despite its youth, the team was competitive in conference play until a late four-game losing streak. Johnson was named to the ACC All-Freshman and All-ACC Third Teams. Johnson produced similar numbers as a sophomore and the team was much more successful. The forward averaged 15.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.4 steals and was once again honored with an All-ACC Third Team. The Demon Deacons went 11-5 in ACC play and earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Johnson produced 22 points, eight rebounds and four blocks, but Wake Forest was upset by Cleveland State in the Big Dance. The forward declared for the 2009 NBA Draft after his sophomore season and was chosen 16th overall by the Chicago Bulls.

Solid production as substitute
FMinnesota Timberwolves
March 11, 2020
Johnson went for 16 points (7-14 FG, 2-4 3Pt), six rebounds, three assists and two steals in 25 minutes off the bench during Tuesday's 117-111 loss at Houston.
ANALYSIS
Johnson continues to impress off the bench for Minnesota, and he has scored at least 15 points in three of his last five contests. He's also shooting 47.4 percent from three-point range during that five-game stretch, so there's no question he's trending in the right direction of late. Those scoring figures should provide value in most formats regardless if he's starting or not.
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Past Season Summaries
2019

The veteran began the season with the Heat, appearing in 18 games and averaging 5.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 15.7 minutes per contest. Johnson made his season debut on Nov. 3 against Houston, playing 22 minutes and posting 17 points, four rebounds and three assists. In a Jan. 5 win over Portland, Johnson posted 12 points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Against the Kings on Jan. 20, Johnson went for a season-high 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting, to go with six rebounds, three assists and two blocks. On Feb. 6, the Heat traded Johnson to the Grizzlies as part of a deal that brought Andre Iguodala to Miami. The Grizzlies subsequently traded Johnson to the Timberwolves in exchange for Gorgui Dieng. Johnson made his Grizzlies debut on Feb. 8 against the Clippers, finishing with 15 points, three rebounds, five, assists, two steals and a block in 20 minutes off the bench. The Wake Forest product appeared in 14 games for the Grizzlies before the suspension of the NBA season. In that span, he posted averages of 12.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks in 24.1 minutes per game.

2018

The 2018-19 season marked Johnson's 10th in the league and third with the Heat. Johnson's campaign got off to a late start after he missed the first 15 games of the season while recovering from sports hernia surgery. He returned to action on Nov. 15 in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers where he scored eight points and recorded two assists on a two-of-eight shooting night from the field. The 31-year-old shot 43.3 percent from the field and averaged 7.8 points per game while grabbing 3.2 rebounds and dishing 2.5 assists per game. Johnson's best game came on Dec. 8 against the Los Angeles Clippers when he put up 18 points, eight rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes. The 18 points would remain his season high, with Johnson matching the total again on an 18-point, five-assist, four-rebound effort in an overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors on April 7. Johnson scored in double-digits in back-to-back games against playoff teams when he notched 11 points, five rebounds and three assists against the Houston Rockets on Dec. 20 and followed it up with another 11-point outing against the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 22. He would also grab six boards, dish out four assists, and record one block in his team's win against the Bucks. Just four days later, Johnson would score in double digits again with 12 points and grab six boards in a two-point loss to the eventual NBA Champion Toronto Raptors. Johnson would open up January hot too, with back-to-back double-digit games including a 17-point, four rebound effort in a win against the Washington Wizards.

2017

Johnson was a versatile part of Miami's 2017-18 playoff team. He started 41 games with the club last season after being deployed in that role only five times in his first year with the Heat. While Johnson's scoring output dipped a few notches to 10.8 points per game, his rebounding (4.9), assist (3.0) and steal (1.0) averages were all nearly identical to his previous campaign. The former Demon Deacon took fewer shots last season but was more efficient from the field, raising his field-goal percentage from 47.9 percent in 2016-17 to 50.3 percent last season. Johnson also chipped in from deep, averaging 0.8 three-pointers per contest and shooting 30.8 percent from behind the arc. Johnson posted six double-doubles on the season and fell two assists shy of a triple-double with a 10-point, 10-rebound, eight-assist performance against Portland on Dec. 13. He posted arguably his best stat line of the season in a win over Denver on March 19, pouring in a season-high 31 points while grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out six assists. That performance was part of a strong month of March in which Johnson averaged 12.6 points per game on 59.7 percent shooting from the field. Although Miami was eliminated by Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs, Johnson stepped up as a key offensive contributor for Miami. He played 32.1 minutes per contest in the five-game series, averaging 12.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game while shooting 54.8 percent from the field and 53.8 percent from deep. He also contributed 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks per game on the defensive end.

2016

Johnson signed with the Miami Heat on a one-year contract prior to the start of the 2016-17 campaign. He played 76 games and started five of them. The forward scored a career high 12.8 points per game, to go along with 4.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.1 blocks in 27.4 minutes. Johnson debuted with the Heat in their season opener Oct. 26, posting 11 points (2-4 3Pt), two rebounds and six assists against the Orlando Magic. His best performance was March 19 against the Portland Trail Blazers, when he registered 24 points (9-13 FG), seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks in 30 minutes off bench. He scored 26 points on three occasions, and logged 11 games with 20 or more points. On Apr. 8, the forward grabbed 11 rebounds for a season high. Johnson notched four double-doubles, including a 12-assist effort on Jan. 13 to set a personal best. The Heat narrowly missed postseason play after posting a 41-41 record, but the team saw enough of a bright spot in Johnson to award him a new, three-year contract in July.

2015

Johnson played 57 games (32 starts) for the Raptors in the 2015-16 season. The forward averaged 5.0 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 16.2 minutes per game. He was limited by an ankle injury in February and logged some DNP-CD's as well. His best performance of the campaign came Dec. 18 against the Miami Heat, when he posted 13 points and five assists. On Jan. 8, the forward grabbed a season-high nine rebounds. HIs role increased slightly from 14.0 MPG in November to 17.7 in March. The Raptors finished with a 56-26 record, good for the Eastern Conference's No. 2 seed. They toppled both the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat in the first two rounds of the playoffs before losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Conference Finals by a 4-2 margin. Johnson showed particularly well against the Cavs, scoring 10 points in Game 1 and 11 points in Game 2, both on the road. He played 10 games overall during the playoffs, averaging 3.0 points and 1.5 rebounds across 9.8 minutes per contest.

2014

Before the 2014-15 season, Johnson signed with the Raptors on a two-year contract for his secont stint with the franchise. He played 70 games (17 starts) and averaged 7.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.0 blocks in 19.6 minutes. On Feb. 21, Johnson scored a career-high 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting, adding five rebounds, four steals and four blocks against the Houston Rockets. He scored 15 or more points in 11 games, even with limited minutes. The forward notched two double-doubles, including an 11-rebound effort on Dec. 30 at the Portland Trail Blazers. In his 17 starting appearances, Johnson logged 11.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg and 1.5 apg in 26.8 mpg. The Raptors finished with a 49-33 record as Eastern Conference's 4th seed. They lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Washington Wizards (0-4). The forward played two games for a total 11 minutes, registering four points, two rebounds and one assist.

2013

Johnson signed with the Memphis Grizzlies as a free agent in December on a one-year deal after being waived by the Atlanta Hawks in the preseason. He played 52 games, four of them as a starter. The forward averaged 7.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 18.4 minutes per game. He made his debut for the club Dec. 17, scoring two points in four minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers. Johnson's best month was February, registering 10.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 blocks while logging 20.5 minutes per game off the bench. His best performance was on Apr. 6, when he posted 20 points (7-11 FG), five rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes against the San Antonio Spurs. The forward scored in double figures 11 times during the campaign. He notched one double-double, logging 13 points and 10 rebounds against the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 30. The Grizzlies advanced to the playoffs after a 50-32 record, but lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder (3-4) in the first round. Johnson appeared in three games, including a 15-point, five-rebound effort in Game 6.

2012

In the summer of 2012, Johnson was traded by the Raptors to the Sacramento Kings. He appeared in 54 games for his new team, starting 11 of them. The forward logged 5.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.9 blocks in 16.3 minutes per contest for Sacramento. His best performance was on Dec. 28. In that contest, Johnson posted 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists against the New York Knicks, while hitting a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer. On Jan. 5, Johnson blocked a season-high five shots, plus added four points, six rebounds and two steals, during a loss at Brooklyn. In his 11 games as a starter, the forward registered 6.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 23.8 minutes per start.

2011

Johnson played in 62 games for the Raptors, and started 40 of them in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. The forward averaged 9.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 25.2 minutes per game. He also registered 1.1 steals and 1.4 blocks, both per game career highs. Johnson's best performance was on Jan. 20, when he posted 23 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and four blocks in 30 minutes as a starter in a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. Four nights later, Johnson delivered 18 points, 10 rebounds and a steal during a win at Phoenix. He notched three double-doubles in the campaign, including a 22-point, 13-rebound effort on Apr. 23 against the Miami Heat. That was a personal best in rebounds for Johnson.

2010

Johnson started the 2010-11 season with the Bulls and appeared in 13 games for Chicago. He averaged 3.2 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 9.5 minutes for coach Tom Thibodeau. In late January, Chicago sent Johnson to the Iowa Energy of the D-League. In eight games for the Energy, Johnson delivered 19.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 1.0 steal per D-League contest. On Feb. 22, the forward was traded to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for a late first round pick. Johnson debuted for his new team one night later, registering nine points and five rebounds against the his former club. Johnson played in 25 games, all starts, with the Raptors. The 23-year old averaged 9.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.1 blocks in 28.0 minutes for Toronto, nice boost relative to his time in Chicago. The forward's best performance was on Apr. 10, posting 18 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals in 40 minutes against the New Jersey Nets.

2009

Johnson was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 16th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. During his rookie season, the forward appeared in 65 games and started 11 of them. He averaged 3.9 points, 2.0 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 0.7 blocks in 11.6 minutes per contest. The Wake Forest product made his NBA debut on Oct. 30, with four points and three rebounds during a loss at Boston. Johnson's best performance was on Mar. 12, when he tallied 20 points, six rebounds and two blocks over 42 minutes against the Miami Heat. For the season, Johnson appeared in 65 games with 11 starts. The Bulls advanced to the playoffs after a 41-41 record and lost to Cleveland in the first round of the playoffs. Johnson appeared briefly in four postseason games and delivered one rebound and one assist.

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Transaction History
  • June 25, 2009
    Drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the 1st round (16th pick) of the 2009 NBA Draft.
  • July 1, 2009
    Signed a rookie two-year contract with the Chicago Bulls
  • February 22, 2011
    Traded by the Chicago Bulls to the Toronto Raptors for a 2011 1st round draft pick
  • July 16, 2012
    Traded by the Toronto Raptors to the Sacramento Kings for a 2014 2nd round draft pick
  • September 1, 2013
    Signed a two-year contract with the Atlanta Hawks
  • October 21, 2013
    Waived by the Atlanta Hawks.
  • December 16, 2013
    Signed a one-year contract with the Memphis Grizzlies.
  • July 15, 2014
    Signed a two-year contract with the Toronto Raptors
  • July 10, 2016
    Signed a one-year contract with the Miami Heat
  • July 7, 2017
    Signed a three-year contract with the Miami Heat
  • February 6, 2020
    As part of a 3-team trade, traded by the Miami Heat to the Minnesota Timberwolves
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
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Johnson became a legitimate Fantasy asset two seasons ago -- his first campaign in Miami -- when he emerged as a versatile two-way forward. The 31-year-old’s production remained relatively stagnant last year, averaging 10.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists and a combined 1.7 steals/blocks. He was able to increase his field-goal percentage from 47.9 to 50.3, though lost just over three percent on his long-range shooting. In addition to his balanced play, Johnson’s health remains solid, having missed just 15 games over the past two seasons. Overall, the forward’s role seems unlikely to change significantly this year. But, if anything, he might see decreased usage as a result of the return of Dion Waiters and the continued presence of Kelly Olynyk, Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson. Johnson is someone to target in the final rounds of most standard league drafts.
Johnson, in his eighth NBA season, had the best year of his career last season, posting career highs in points (12.8), rebounds (4.9), assists (3.6) per game. He also shot a career-high 34.0 percent from beyond the arc. Part of the reason for his success was his emergence as a legitimate threat as a ballhandler, as the Heat felt confident in his ability to help run the offense, especially when injuries began to pile up. For example, in his five starts last season, he posted an impressive 18.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.6 assists across 36.1 minutes per game – making him a high-profile option in daily formats. While the signing of power forward/center Kelly Olynyk might seemingly bite into Johnson’s minutes, the Heat signed Johnson to a four-year, $60 million deal this offseason, implying they’re likely going to use him in fashion similar to the 2016-17 campaign. While Johnson isn’t an elite Fantasy option, his role with the team is conducive to him having the ball in his hands often and seeing near starter’s minutes, both of which often lead to good things in Fantasy.
Johnson had a turbulent season in his second stint with the Raptors, spending good portions of it in coach Dwane Casey's doghouse but making a solid contribution when injuries forced Casey to give him extensive minutes. The end result was numbers similar to his performance the year before with the Grizzlies, as Johnson averaged 20 minutes, 7.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.0 block, and 0.2 three-pointers in 70 games while shooting 59 percent from the floor and 66 percent from the free-throw line. His length and athleticism allow him to guard multiple positions and make him a useful source of defensive stats when he gets enough court time, but it's clear at this point that Casey simply doesn't trust Johnson or his judgment. The acquisition of DeMarre Carroll, a similar player with a better, more well-rounded skill set, also puts a major road block between Johnson and that court time, and barring a rash of injuries that once again leaves the coach with no other options, or a new head coach replacing Casey, Johnson seems unlikely to get enough minutes to make much of a contribution.
After two seasons of sporadic minutes off the bench in Sacramento and Memphis, Johnson returns to a Toronto organization in much better shape than the one he left. He started 65 games for the Raptors in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, but with Terrence Ross installed as the starting small forward, Johnson will be utilized primarily as a defensive stalwart on the second unit, a job in which he should be able to thrive given his length and athleticism. Last season, the sixth-year forward played in 52 games for the Grizzlies, averaging 7.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.1 blocks, 0.8 steals, and 0.4 three-pointers in 18 minutes per game while shooting 46 percent from the field, 84 percent from the free-throw line, and 25 percent from beyond the arc. Johnson chafed against his limited role in his first tour of duty with Toronto, often trying to do too much on offense, but with more maturity under his belt and a roster around him more likely to get him to the playoffs, Johnson seems better prepared to be a lunch-bucket bench player this time around.
After a forgettable season in Sacramento, Johnson signed a non-guaranteed training camp deal with the Hawks. The versatile forward has started 87 games throughout his four-year career but isn't likely to be a major factor in Atlanta if he makes the roster.
Johnson had his best full NBA season with the Raptors in 2011-12 but was shipped to Sacramento in a salary dump this offseason. Johnson’s versatility is probably what appealed to the Kings, considering he can play the two, the three, and the four. He probably won’t start, but there’s no reason he can’t come close to the 25.2 minutes per game he averaged last season. Johnson averaged 9.1 points on 45 percent shooting to go with 4.7 rebounds in 2011-12, and there’s some room for improvement if Johnson continues to improve on his three-point shot. He raised his three-point percentage to 31.7 percent last season, up from 24 percent the previous season. If he can continue to improve in that category, he could become an even more well-rounded fantasy player. If you owned Johnson last season, you probably scooped him up because he averaged 1.15 steals per game – 14th best among forwards. Considering he doesn’t have any serious deficiencies in any roto categories, those steals totals can be valuable when they come from a player as cheap as Johnson. He is primarily a deep league play on draft day, but standard league owners should keep an eye on Johnson as a possible early season waiver-wire addition.
He’s 6-9, 245 pounds and extremely athletic. Halfway through his sophomore season, he was traded from the Bulls to the Raptors and was inserted straight into the starting lineup at small forward. He played well, putting up averages of 9.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.1 bpg and 1.0 spg in 28 mpg as a Raptor. Johnson can jump, handle the ball, score on his own and play very solid defence. If he can polish his jump shot, he could be a very high-caliber player for years to come and may get plenty of opportunity to produce this season.
Johnson, selected 16th by the Bulls last season, fell behind Gibson on the depth chart. With Boozer and Gibson in Chicago, Johnson will see much of his time at small forward, but needs to be in better shape to even earn minutes there.
Johnson, selected 16th by the Bulls, averaged 14.8 points on 51.4 percent shooting in two seasons at Wake Forest. Though questions persist about his habit of losing focus, his ability to score with either hand and in a variety of ways impressed Chicago. Johnson also was impressive in summer league play, showing versatility as he has 3-man skills based on the way he can handle the ball and make plays off the dribble, with the size and bulk of a 4. With Thomas and Noah able to play the 4, Deng expected to be 100 percent and the selection of Gibson, Johnson may have to fight for minutes but will play both forward spots. Taj Gibson: Gibson, selected 26th by the Bulls, is an athletic big man who can move well for someone of his size. He is a proficient scorer from both inside and outside, and has a knack for finding a way to make an impact even without the ball. The Bulls were impressed by Gibson's maturity and length during his workout and interview process. He has a 7-4 wingspan, which should prove valuable on defense, allowing Chicago to mix and match up front. His weaknesses are most pronounced in half-court sets, as he needs to get stronger while his jump shot is only effective in a clear rhythm. But with the Bulls hoping to emphasize more open-court offense and upgrade their defense, Gibson is positioned to contribute.
More Fantasy News
Goes for 16 off bench
FMinnesota Timberwolves
March 8, 2020
Johnson had 15 points (5-11 FG, 3-5 3PT, 2-2 FT), five rebounds and four assists in Sunday's loss to New Orleans.
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Keeps impressing off bench
FMinnesota Timberwolves
March 4, 2020
Johnson registered 19 points (8-14 FG, 1-2 3Pt, 2-4 FT), six rebounds, five assists and two steals in 21 minutes during Tuesday's 139-134 win at New Orleans.
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Strong effort off bench
FMinnesota Timberwolves
February 28, 2020
Johnson scored 17 points (8-10 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 1-1 FT) while adding four assists, three rebounds, two steals and two blocks in 26 minutes off the bench during Friday's 136-125 loss to the Magic.
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Coming off bench Friday
FMinnesota Timberwolves
February 21, 2020
Johnson will come off the bench Friday against the Celtics, Dane Moore of ZoneCoverage.com reports.
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Gets defensive in starting role
FMinnesota Timberwolves
February 13, 2020
Johnson registered five points (2-8 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 0-2 FT), five rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals across 32 minutes Wednesday in the Timberwolves' 115-108 loss to the Hornets.
ANALYSIS
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