Johnson could see increased minutes down the line

Johnson could see increased minutes down the line
December 18, 2011, 11:45 pm
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TORONTO With Jeff Green out for the entire 2011-2012 season, there is indeed a void that could be filled in some capacity by Celtics rookie JaJuan Johnson.

One of the things the C's like about Green was his ability to stretch the floor with his perimeter shooting skills, a trait that Johnson also possesses.

"JaJuan can shoot the heck out of the basketball," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "And he can really run the floor. Defensively, he's gotta get stronger, mentally and physically. And that'll come."

Although he played limited minutes in Boston's 76-75 preseason win over Toronto, Johnson chipped in with three rebounds and did a decent job defensively.

The idea that Johnson won't play much shouldn't be all that surprising, especially when you look at Rivers' track record with first-year players.

However, Johnson's lack of playing time will have less to do with his game, and more to do with the fact that there are a number of players, veteran players, ahead of him right now.

"The other guys are pretty good, (Brandon) Bass and Kevin (Garnett) and those guys," Rivers said. "We needed to get them first. It's great to want the young guys to play. But guys, we got two preseason games. He'll get his chance."

Like most NBA players, Johnson wants to play immediately.

But he's wise enough to know that his time to shine, may not necessarily be right now.

"I just feel like, obviously, the more reps you get at things, the more comfortable and the better you get at it," Johnson said. "Once I get more comfortable, get more reps - just in game situations - the better I'll be."

He added, "I understand with the talented players we have on this team, you gotta pay your dues. But I learn something everyday. And I'm always going to stay positive about it, and keep working."