NEW YORK -- From 2005-12, Joe Johnson was the man in Atlanta.
During that span, he averaged 20.9 points on 17.6 shots per game and was an All-Star in six of his seven seasons with the Hawks.
But things have changed. Johnson is one of the top-five highest paid players in the NBA this year ($21.5 million), yet you wouldn’t know it looking at his 2013-14 stats.
In the first four games of this season, the Nets’ 32-year-old shooting guard is averaging 11.5 points on 8.0 field-goal attempts.
Johnson, who has thrived in isolation sets throughout his career, no longer has the ball in hand all the time.
“So when [the ball] does find you, you better be ready,” Johnson said after contributing 12 points on 5-for-9 shooting in the Nets’ 104-88 rout of the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night at Barclays Center. “I just try to be ready at all times. Probably the first 8-10 minutes, I probably touched it like twice. But it’s part of it.
“In the second quarter, it found me a few times. It’s just how it is, man. We’re a very talented group. Whenever you get minutes, you just have to value them, and do whatever you can to help your team out.”
Johnson compares this situation -- playing with the likes of Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, Brook Lopez and Kevin Garnett -- to the situation he had in Phoenix, when he was teammates with Amar'e Stoudemire, Steve Nash and Shawn Marion.
“I’ve been in a situation like this before,” Johnson said. “This isn’t the first time. But I think my game, I’m not predicated on just one thing. I’m able to do multiple things, which I think helps me out.”
Johnson, it appears, cares more about winning than individual numbers.
“I’m just doing what I can to try to help this team out,” he said. “Whatever that may be, whether it’s coming out and being aggressive, playing defensive, whatever.”