Pops heads north, DerMarr Johnson heads south and the Toros...well, they played three games last week.
On Tuesday the Toros acquired forward DerMarr Johnson from the player pool. Johnson played for the Toros in 44 games last season, averaging just over 17 points and 4 rebounds. To make room for Johnson, the team waived reserve center Nate Brown for "injury reasons."
The last time I saw Johnson play was during the Wizards' preseason this year. His play was up and down, but there was some real debate among Wizards fans as to whether the team should keep him or Juan Dixon on the roster. In the end Dixon's contract was partially guaranteed, so he ended up with the spot. Here's a scouting report on his last D-League stint from Matt Moore via Bullets Forever.
"If these trends continue...ayyyyyyy."
The Toros dropped all three of their games last week, losing to Colorado, Albuquerque and Reno. Bright spots were Marcus Williams, who had 31 points on 25 shots to go with 11 rebounds and seven assists against Colorado and Eric Dawson, who had 39 points on 21 shots and nine rebounds against Albuquerque. The losses mean Austin has dropped to second place in their division behind the 14ers. Unfortunately for the Toros, there may be no chance for payback, as Wednesday's game was the last regular season meeting between the two teams.
If there was any one culprit this week, it was the Toros bench. Back when Mensah-Bonsu was in Austin, the Toros usually found at least one solid bench contributor each night to help pick up any slack, typically one of the centers Dwayne Jones or Nate Brown. Pops signing with Toronto (and congratulations to him for getting a contract for the rest of the year and having an immediate impact) has moved Jones into the starting lineup, and Brown was released to make room for DerMarr Johnson, so when Jones has a night like he did against Colorado (0-3 with two points and five rebounds), or Marcus Williams needs 23 shots to get 19 points and Squeaky Johnson shoots 1-7 against Albuquerque, or the starting guards can't hit their threes against Reno (a combined 2-13), well, you go 0-3.
About that scouting report...
Going back to DerMarr Johnson, the new old Toro had a rough week, shooting a combined 4-25. He's always had a trigger finger, but for now I'll chalk this up to getting re-acclimated to the team. I think he can really help the team out and take some of the scoring load off of Williams, but he needs to start maximizing his time on the court. Other than grabbing six rebounds against Colorado, he really had no other non-scoring stat of note last week.
The Toros have their only home game this month on Tuesday, and for now I'm planning on attending. I'll try to get some in-game thoughts together and post them on Wednesday.