Alize Johnson 2019-20 Season Highlights

Check out some of the top plays from Alize Johnson's 2019-20 season.

Alize Johnson 2020 Player Review

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Alize Johnson 2019-20 Season Highlights

Check out some of the top plays from Alize Johnson's 2019-20 season.
Sep 12, 2020  |  00:55

Player Review 2020: Alize Johnson

by Wheat Hotchkiss Writer/Editor

Age: 24
Years Pro: 2
Status: Restricted free agent.
Key Stats: Appeared in 17 games and started one for the Pacers, averaging 2 points and 2.8 rebounds in 6.9 minutes per game. Also played in 19 games for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the NBA G League, where he averaged 20.1 points, 12.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.4 steals.

The Pacers took Alize Johnson in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft primarily for his motor. Indiana President of Basketball Operations described Johnson as "a bulldog" who plays bigger than his 6-7 frame and in the brief glimpses Pacers fans have gotten of Johnson over the past two seasons, his energy level certainly stands out.

Johnson continued his development during the 2019-20 season, dominating G League competition and getting occasional minutes with the NBA club, culminating with the best performance of his young career on the final day of the regular season.

Aside from two-way players Brian Bowen II and Naz Mitrou-Long, no player on the Pacers roster spent more time shuttling back and forth between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne on I-69 last season than Johnson. The second-year forward was assigned to the Mad Ants on 12 separate occasions before the G League season was ultimately shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

PHOTO GALLERY: Alize Johnson's 2019-20 Season in Photos »

While with the Pacers, Johnson was often active but saw sparse playing time for much of the season. He made his season debut in Indiana's eighth regular season game and appeared in seven of the next 10 contests, but only entered six more games over the remaining three and a half months before the hiatus.

Since minutes were hard to come by in Indianapolis, the Pacers made frequent use of their affiliate relationship with the Mad Ants, sending Johnson down for regular short stints in the G League to keep him fresh.

When getting extended minutes in Fort Wayne, Johnson was a double-double machine. He averaged 20.1 points and 12.8 rebounds in 19 games in the G League. Highlights included a 36-point, 15-rebound performance in his first G League game of the season, a triple-double on Dec. 22, and a 22-point, 20-rebound performance on Jan. 11.

Alize Johnson

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

Johnson's rebounding numbers came as no surprise, but his playmaking abilities with the Mad Ants no doubt turned some heads. He averaged an impressive 4.6 assists per game, put his energy to good use on the defense end by forcing 1.4 steals per contest, and proved to be a capable threat as a shooter, going 21-for-62 (33.9 percent) from 3-point range.

The abrupt end to the G League season likely robbed Johnson of some extra playing time late in the season, but he did get some experience while in the bubble with the Pacers for the NBA restart.

Johnson appeared in four of Indiana's eight seeding games to close out the regular season, getting a lengthy look over the last two contests.

He logged 17 minutes off the bench in the Pacers' 108-104 victory over Houston on Aug. 12, tallying two points, eight rebounds, three steals, and one block.

But Johnson's breakthrough performance came two nights later in the regular season finale against Miami. With both teams resting several starters ahead of their playoff series, Johnson got his first career start against the Heat. He rose to the occasion, recording his first career double-double with 11 points, 17 rebounds (seven on the offensive glass), and four assists, setting new career highs in all of those statistical categories.

The Pacers' veterans were thrilled for Johnson, mobbing him in the locker room after the win and heaping praise upon him during postgame media availability.

"We're so happy for him, man," Pacers forward Doug McDermott said. "He works his butt off day in and day out. He's a great teammate, just an awesome guy all around. It's great to see all his hard work pay off. He's made that grind, that drive to Fort Wayne after some of our late games, and he comes back full of energy the next day."

The Pacers have the option of extending Johnson a qualifying offer during the offseason to keep him under contract for another year. Given the promise he has shown in the G League and during limited opportunities in the NBA, it seems like a good possibility he will be back on the roster next season.

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