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Liberty Ballers Community Rankings: Amir Johnson

And voting for #9!

Philadelphia 76ers Media Day Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Liberty Ballers is asking for the community’s help in ranking the Sixers’ full roster (12 active players, 3 inactive players, 2 two-way players) according to on-court value for the upcoming season. When casting a vote, you should concern yourself only with each player’s ability to contribute to winning this season. So, for example, maybe you believe Markelle Fultz will be a valuable member of the Sixers core over the next 5 seasons, but you also think he’ll be slight negative on the court for most of this season. Meanwhile, you expect Robert Covington to be an integral part of the starting lineup in 2018-2019, but in 3 or 4 years, you expect him to bottom out. From that perspective, Markelle would be the more player over the long haul, but you should place Covington above him in this ranking, due to Covington’s projected positive contributions this year. You can find the original post here, which includes the Sixers’ projected final roster.

Amir Johnson

NBA fans perpetually underrate Amir Johnson, and this year is no different. Amir, a player who is routinely a plus contributor, comes in on the Liberty Ballers rankings at #10, behind players that are likely negatives. He’s not the sexiest player and his box score numbers don’t pop (4.5 PPG/4.5 RPG/1.6 APG in ‘17-’18), but he simply contributes to winning no matter how unappealing his style may look.

Johnson finished last season with a +1.4 net rating, and his impact stats like RPM (1.78) and RAPM (0.56) suggest that while his offense is under par, he more than makes up for it with his defense. Amir uses a combination of awareness, hustle and the “little things” (for example, AJ led the Sixers in screen assists per 36 last season at 5.7) to provide Brett Brown a trustworthy second-unit center.

Entering the 2018-2019 season at age 31, is it possible Amir’s contributions fall off a bit? Certainly. His offensive rating last season was 100.5 — the lowest number out of him since 2011-2012. If that slide continues, even if his defensive rating stays around his ‘17-’18 mark of 99.2, Johnson could end up a negative according to net rating. Another downward trend from last year was Amir’s minutes per game at 15.1, a five-minute drop-off from the previous year. Maybe voters are anticipating father time finally catches Amir, as the 31-year-old is beginning his 14th NBA season next week. Or maybe voters are placing an emphasis on what he projects to contribute in the playoffs (next to nothing). Both fair criticisms.

However, if preseason is any indication, coach Brett Brown has different expectations, and plans to again use Amir Johnson as Joel Embiid’s backup, a role Johnson has sufficiently fulfilled. There’s value in having a player who can reliably keep the ship afloat in the absence of a franchise centerpiece. The comfort in leaning on Amir could even help in the preservation of Embiid. And until Amir Johnson-equipped units start consistently surrendering leads, I believe he belongs higher on this list based on the body of work and considering some of the players ahead of him.

Sixers Community Rankings

Rank Player Vote percentage Runner-up Runner up vote % 3rd 3rd vote %
Rank Player Vote percentage Runner-up Runner up vote % 3rd 3rd vote %
17 Demetrius Jackson 41% Jerryd Bayless 29% Furkan Korkmaz 10%
16 Jerryd Bayless 29% Demetrius Jackon (leading vote getter) 32% Shake Milton 22%
15 Shake Milton 81% Jonah Bolden 8% Zhaire Smith 4%
14 Jonah Bolden 69% Zhaire Smith 17% Furkan Korkmaz 12%
13 Zhaire Smith 39% Furkan Korkmaz 37% Amir Johnson 8%
12 Furkan Korkmaz 64% Amir Johnson 11% Landry Shamet 11%
11 Landry Shamet 30% Amir Johnson 26% Mike Muscala 21%
10 Amir Johnson 43% Mike Muscala 35% TJ McConnell 17%

Vote for #9:


Who will be the Sixers’ 9th most valuable player this season?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    Mike Muscala
    (214 votes)
  • 4%
    Markelle Fultz
    (18 votes)
  • 26%
    TJ McConnell
    (102 votes)
  • 14%
    Wilson Chandler
    (58 votes)
392 votes total Vote Now

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