Anonymous Hawks Source: “A big year is coming for Jalen Johnson”

NBA: APR 04 Hawks at Bulls

The Hawks have a hoard of youngsters with exciting potential. Onyeka Okongwu has a much higher ceiling than Clint Capela and deserves starter minutes. AJ Griffin is just 19 years old and shot nearly 50/40/90 as a rookie, and Jalen Johnson is poised to break out in the wake of the John Collins trade.

“A big year is coming for Jalen Johnson,” an anonymous team source said, per Keith Smith of Spotrac. “The opportunity is there. He just needs to take it.”

Coming to Atlanta, JJ didn’t go into the best situation. He was dubbed a lottery talent, but injuries and a lack of shooting resulted in him falling to the Hawks’ 20th pick. Under Travis Schlenk, the club selected the best player available even though there wasn’t an obvious path to the court for Johnson, which makes sense when you see his stats over his first two seasons.

The Duke product averaged just 4.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 0.9 assists over his first two seasons, but opportunities were limited. During his rookie campaign, he played in just 22 games, logging a minuscule 120 minutes. And last year wasn’t much better in what was essentially his rookie season.

But with Nate McMillan out, Jalen Johnson’s role grew. In the season’s final five games, he averaged 11.6 points on 56.8 percent shooting, adding 4.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.4 blocks, and 1.8 steals. More impressively, he put up 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals in just 14 minutes in the play-in game against the Heat.

Under Quin Snyder, Jalen Johnson has a real chance to become an impact contributor for the Hawks. He’s already shown more faith in the youngster, and the production on the court later in the year is proof of that trust working out. He’s a versatile player that can provide scoring, facilitating, defense, and more. Johnson has a high motor but needs to further develop as a three-point shooter.

Snyder places an emphasis shooting, and it’s the single biggest weakness of Johnson’s game. Now, with a full offseason under his new coach, the expectation should be for him to at least become a serviceable shooter from deep.

Hawks fans will be quite satisfied with the player Jalen Johnson becomes under Quin Snyder; someone on the staff clearly thinks so if they’re leaking this to the press.

Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire

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