By the age of 30, an NBA player has most likely displayed his abilities, and teams possess a general sense of their basic strengths and weaknesses. However, how do you judge someone who has only played a few years in the NBA as a 30-year-old?
Ivan Johnson is a power forward with a mere two seasons worth of experience in the NBA having played for the Atlanta Hawks from 2011-2013. He made his NBA debut at 27 years of age. During those two seasons, Johnson averaged 6.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Although his numbers are low, Johnson made solid contributions, normally playing just under 16 minutes each game. At 6-feet-8-inches, Ivan Johnson is a little undersized for a power forward, but his statistics indicate he can hold his own under the basket.
Aside from the NBA, Johnson played basketball in Korea and China. Most recently, Johnson was in China playing for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls during the 2013-2014 season.
Now, a few NBA teams are interested in signing Johnson for next season. The list of teams includes the Brooklyn Nets, Portland Trailblazers, and the San Antonio Spurs. Unfortunately for Johnson, all of these teams already have power forwards who would play ahead of him.
In San Antonio, Boris Diaw finally finished a new deal with the Spurs for three more seasons. This means Tim Duncan, Diaw and Austin Daye would play most of the time at power forward. Johnson would see very little time, if any at all, on the Spurs. Yet, head coach Gregg Popovich could surely make use of him somehow.
In Portland, the Trailblazers’ starter at power forward is rising superstar LaMarcus Aldridge. Behind Aldridge, Thomas Robinson is the only player listed at the position. Johnson could find his way onto the court in Portland and potentially steal minutes away from Robinson.
Like the Spurs, the Nets have a number of players who would play over Johnson. Although Paul Pierce and Mirza Teletovic are their only power forwards, center Kevin Garnett is able to play the position well enough to put Johnson on the bench a majority of the time. Yet again, Johnson would play a limited role off the bench.
If someone does reach an agreement with Johnson, he will have to work very hard to get playing time. Johnson is getting older and is still somewhat unproven in the league. His future playing time will probably be determined before the season begins.