Article: Armon Johnson Works Hard, Plays Hard
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  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 10/18/2010 10:21 AM

    Via Oregon Live-
     And after five exhibition games, perhaps no young player has increased his value more than Armon Johnson. The rookie point guard from Nevada was an afterthought second-round draft pick over the summer who earned the 15th and final roster spot only because of a standout summer league performance.

    But with two exhibition games and nine days remaining before the Blazers open the season against the Phoenix Suns, Johnson has caught the eye of McMillan and his staff with his second-to-none work ethic, fiery play and potential.

    "I love the way he plays," McMillan said. "He plays hard. Defensively, he gets after it. Offensively, he's just natural at pushing the ball."
     Johnson gives credit for the routine to a player he's never met -- Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash. Raymond Sykes, a forward on the Blazers' training camp roster, played for the Suns during the 2009 preseason and was impressed by the work ethic and fervor Nash approaches every practice and workout with, even as a 14-year NBA veteran. When Johnson heard Sykes' stories about Nash, he was blown away.

    "He told me that while guys were getting taped and while guys were still coming in to practice, Steve Nash was already out there working and getting better," Johnson said. "That really stuck with me and built something inside of me. He's a two-time MVP. If he comes in and works like that, then that's what I need to be doing. So I'm just trying to develop a routine."

    This determination doesn't end when practice starts. Johnson gets far fewer reps and much less playing time in practice than starting point guard Andre Miller and backup Jerryd Bayless, but he makes the most of his opportunities by flashing this relentless, no-nonsense demeanor. Whether it's a simple drill or a full-court scrimmage, Johnson goes full speed.

    When the Blazers run sprints at the end of practice, he's almost always the first one finished. On Sunday, when the Blazers were working half-speed on a half-court drill, Johnson dove to the ground for a loose ball.

    Brandon Roy and Wesley Matthews were asked what sticks out most about the rookie point guard and the first two words out of both of their mouths were "work" and "ethic." When McMillan was asked about this work ethic Sunday he said, "Just look at him," and pointed to Johnson across the court as he ran full speed through a half-court drill and corralled a rebound over the 6-foot-9 Sykes.

    "He goes hard in every drill, every day, and tries to bring something to help the team," Matthews said. "I respect that."

    For those who missed the game on Saturday, AJ looked fantastic. He was so similar to Greg Anthony is was eerie. Easy takes to the hoop, a nice looking jumper, control of the offense, and suffocating defense. He's not only a Nate-type of player, but he'll challenge for some minutes this year if he keeps it up.
    I am a fan of
  1. Kim~
    Posts: 1137

    Posted 10/18/2010 10:55 AM

    AJ looks bigger in the upper body to me, than any pg I could even compare him too !!

     With Dre, AJ and the time Roy has the ball in his hands, Blazer fans should take a step back from jocking CP3. We have not even seen the lineup with a Roy/Matthews backcourt yet.....

    I am not going to worry about anything the media is stirring up now , putting all my positive energy behind the one missing piece , big Joel !!

    Go Blazers !!!
    I am a fan of scrapping !
  1. RedRudy5
    Posts: 135

    Posted 10/18/2010 12:09 PM

    Nice article- definitly have been impressed with the stints he has played in the preseason...
    I am a fan of Turning this season around! Time to show some pride!!
  1. McLegend
    Posts: 89

    Posted 10/18/2010 3:42 PM

    I'd like to see Armon, Matthews, Batum, Camby, and Joel altogether at once. Imagine how aggressive (defensively) that line-up would be. ;)
    I am a fan of making Kobe cry in the Western Conference Finals.
  1. ty2k4444
    Posts: 4

    Posted 10/18/2010 4:30 PM

    Armon is really impressing me this preseason. I liked what I saw in simmer league and he is only building on that here in preseason. I am glad to hear that he works so hard during practice!
    I am a fan of the L-Train!!!!1
  1. Tobyus Sanchezo
    Tobyus Sanchezo
    Posts: 1669

    Posted 10/18/2010 6:47 PM

    He'll get to play a little during the season. It'll be fun watching him grow as a Blazer.
    Unlike Jerryd, I don't think we'll be throwin' stinky dead fish towards the Blazers coaching staff trying to get him in the game. But we shall see, it's gonna be a long season.
    I am a fan of multiple All-Stars on the Blazers roster this season!
  1. Kim~
    Posts: 1137

    Posted 10/18/2010 7:22 PM

    I thought that smell was Chachos jump shot Sanchezo  ....
    Not sure where this leaves Rex in the long term, with AJ and WM here ?
    I am a fan of scrapping !
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