|11-11-2017, 03:36 AM||#1 (permalink)|
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Why did Larry Johnson have a forgettable final NBA season with the New York Knicks?
In 2000-01, Larry Johnson's back injuries were mounting up since his third season in the league back when he was a megastar on the rise with the Charlotte Hornets along with Alonzo Mourning before LJ's back injury and infighting caused the duo to be broken up by 1995-96, similar to how Jim Jackson was supposed to be a megastar for the Dallas Mavericks in the mid 90s before Jim's ankle injury and infighting with Jason Kidd caused the duo to be broken up during 1996-97, kind of similar situations where LJ and JJ not only get injured but can't get along with half their respective team rosters, with their silver linings being both forced to change their games from flashy athletic dunker to middling outside shooters.
Anyway after four milquetoast statistical seasons with the New York Knicks from 1996-97 to 1999-2000 where Larry had to play within the Knicks' defensive-minded team basketball system, Larry Johnson took notice of Alonzo Mourning's kidney illness from consuming too much steroids and PEDs. That's when L. Johnson stopped taking pain pills for his back, and going off the meds made LJ's back problems crucially chronic. He even had to have former Hornets teammate and inactive player Muggsy Bogues by his side to comfort him during his rough patch.
2000-01 is Larry Johnson's worst NBA season ever because it proved to be his only NBA season where he scored below 10+ PPG, as he played 65 games starting at Power Forward where he averaged 9.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks in 32 minutes per game even though he was only 31-32 years old, and made 3.8 of 9.2 shots for a 41.3 FG%, 0.8 of 2.5 3PT shots for a 31.3 3PT%, and made 1.6 of 2.0 free throw shots for 79.7 FT%.
You have a young Kurt Thomas playing much better than the injury prone Larry Johnson, even though KT was off the bench as a backup PF/C behind Johnson at PF and a young but also injury prone Marcus Camby at C.
Why didn't Jeff Van Gundy choose to seat Larry Johnson down the bench and inserted the grittier Kurt Thomas into the lineup at PF, and have Larry Johnson play the backup PF instead? Is it because Van Gundy and New York already had Glen Rice for the role of Sixth Man that they didn't want LJ to overshadow him?
In 31 of 65 games played where Larry actually got a chance to show glimpses and flashes of his old All-Star glory days with the Hornets, he actually averaged 14.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.3 blocks in 36.0 minutes per game in addition to making 5.4 of 11.3 shots for a FG percentage of .478, while making 1.2 of 3.1 3PT shots for a 3PT percentage of .387 and when he went to the free throw line, Larry Johnson made 2.6 of 3.2 free throw shots for a percentage of 81.3 FT%.
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