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James Johnson Has Done A Little Bit Of Everything For Timberwolves

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager


Timberwolves forward James Johnson played 222 games for the Heat from 2016 until this year’s trade deadline, the most he’s played for a single team in his career.

Johnson, an extremely fierce competitor who is literally nicknamed Bloodsport, returns to take on the Heat in Miami on Wednesday night. 

During his three-plus seasons in Miami, Johnson started 79 of 222 games, averaging 10.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.  

Johnson was part of a three-team trade that sent him to Minnesota and Gorgui Dieng to the Grizzlies. The Heat acquired Andre Iguodala, Solomon Hill and Jae Crowder in the deal.

Through six games with the Timberwolves, Johnson has had to do a little bit of everything for Minnesota – playing point forward and center for the team. His all-around averages of 11.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.7 blocks and 1.5 steals per game do a pretty good job of telling the story of Johnson’s value to the team.

“It’s great,” Johnson said about his new team after shootaround on Wednesday. “I see their work ethic and I can work with all. Their heart’s always in the right place when they are trying to make plays and if we keep building on that, it’s going to be real special.”

Johnson’s veteran leadership and approach has been something that head coach Ryan Saunders really values. 

“He’s been great and the conversations we’ve been able to have are ones that I really value, too,” Saunders said. “Because he’s seen a lot of different ways of doing things. He’s seen a lot of different experiences in the NBA and he has a really interesting viewpoint on a lot of things.”

Quick Hits

  • Former Timberwolves wing Jimmy Butler (personal reasons) is questionable for this game. He’s missed the last two games.
  • It will be Jake Layman’s second game back in the lineup after missing 41 games with a toe injury.  Against the Mavericks on Monday, Layman finished with five points and three rebounds in 13 minutes.
  • Katie Davidson mentioned this a bit in her scouting report, but so far, Iguodala has been a bit rusty with his new team. Iggy is averaging 4.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 20 minutes per game while shooting what-would-be a career-low 41.7 percent from the field. Iguodala will likely turn it around, but we’re probably not talking about how much of a risk it is to give up what the Heat did for a 36-year-old player. Iguodala’s true value comes on the defensive side of the ball and we’ll likely see that more in the playoffs.  

Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO


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