Should Raptors be Starting Amir Johnson?


By Ryan McNeill

When Reggie Evans hurt his foot on Friday, most fans and members of the media assumed Amir Johnson would step into the role of starting power forward for the team because he filled in admirably last season when Chris Bosh missed the last few games of the season. During the month of March he averaged 13.4 points and 5.6 rebounds and showed flashes of potential that had fans excited about what his role might be this season.

However, Jay Triano didn’t view things the same way and while talking with the media before the game on Sunday he told us it was doubtful Johnson would start.

After some smoke and mirrors before the game, Triano eventually elected to start Joey Dorsey who nine points and six rebounds in 21 minutes of burn.

After the game when Triano was asked why Dorsey got the starting nod Triano admitted he didn’t want to risk Johnson getting a couple quick fouls because it would effect his playing rotation the rest of the game.

Sure, having him come off the bench meant less disruption to regular roles and the plan may have worked if Johnson hadn’t committed two fouls in his first four minutes, but once again Johnson found himself in foul trouble and was relegated to the bench for most of the first half.

Johnson finished the game with three fouls, four points and six rebounds 21 minutes of work.

While reading Doug Smith’s blog post this morning he floated the idae of giving six minutes to Ed Davis at the start of the game and the beginning of the second half and I cringed at the idea. Why throw a rookie in with the sharks? I know the team did this last season with DeMar DeRozan but I think Davis would be better served being eased into the game.

In fact, it would be ideal to see Johnson start, try to stay out of foul trouble and then throw Davis on the court when Johnson needs a breather or finds himself in foul trouble. This allows Johnson to sort out his issues with fouls, gets Davis some regular burn and it would still allow them to use Dorsey again as a fourth big.

But, as the old saying goes, there’s a reason why Triano’s making the big bucks and I’m sitting in the sidelines writing about the games.


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