After a season that was mostly filled with down points, the Memphis Hustle were eliminated from playoff contention on March 6th after division-rival Sioux Falls Skyforce beat the Santa Cruz Warriors. Despite the sadness that might come from that failure, Hustle forward Omari Johnson seems committed to prove the world that he stands as one of the best forwards in the entire G League.
One the best examples of his perseverance came on Wednesday night as he helped push the Hustle to an impressive 140-112 victory over the Sioux Falls Skyforce. In only 29 minutes, Johnson put up 27 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists on 10-16 from the field and 7-12 from beyond the arc.
Johnson’s tremendous performance from beyond the arc had a lot to do with the great facilitating from the Hustle’s guards, whether it was Marquis Teague or Dusty Hannahs. However, these kind of games have become common for the 6’9 veteran while he’s been with Memphis.
During the current season, Johnson is averaging 15.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game on 45% from field and 41% from beyond the arc on 7 perimeter attempts per game. That production places him 2nd in points per game (Teague is 1st with 17.4 PPG) and 1st in rebounds per game among players that are currently with the Hustle.
Although his numbers for the season might be pretty solid, it actually pales in comparison to how he’s been over the past few weeks. In his last 10 games, Johnson has averaged 22.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game on 49% from the field and 49% from 3 on 9.7 perimeter attempts per game. His excellence from beyond the arc has pushed him to maintain an impressive 65% True Shooting Percentage, which places him 11th among starting G League forwards.
Just his tremendous efficiency as a perimeter should make the 6’9 forward into a favorite to land a 10-day deal, as teams throughout the NBA are always looking for that solid stretch 4 that they can place within their 2nd unit. However, Johnson can give a team more than just a hot hand from beyond the arc. The one area where Johnson thrives in besides his perimeter prowess would be his work as a facilitator.
Whether he’s controlling the ball in transition, the perimeter or in the pinch post, Johnson does a nice job of quickly being able to read the court and make the necessary pass to a fellow member of the Hustle.
That’s especially evident in the pinch post as he has this great ability to throw precise pocket passes to off-ball cutters that ultimately leads to easy buckets at the rim. Of course, this facilitating is still a small part of his offensive arsenal, as he’s only averaging 2.3 assists in his last 10 games. However, its still a solid cherry on the top for what is a solid offensive game.
As a 28-year-old veteran that’s been a pro for seven years , it appears like he is a known quantity in the eyes of most NBA teams. His status as a stretch four has been the biggest part of his all-around arsenal since he first stepped foot in the G League during the 2014-15 season. However, Johnson hasn’t never had the kind of fantastic stretch where he’s able to combine efficiency with volume until the last month or so.
As a 6’7 forward that just lights it up from beyond the arc and can also help you on the offensive glass and as a facilitator, I hope that an NBA team gives Omari Johnson a 10-day so he can just prove what he can do in the Association.