Ager has been covered a few times this summer, the most in-depth of which was here. He was reportedly going to go to camp with the Knicks, yet may have chosen more wisely in coming to New Orleans, who need a two guard more than New York does. DerMarr Johnson is fighting for that same spot; he hasn't been in the NBA since the end of the 2008 season, and has spent much of his time since on Twitter (where all he does is talk about how he's trying to bed every woman in Denver. It grows tiresome.) Johnson played this spring in Saudi Arabia of all places, where he averaged 22.3ppg, 6.7rpg, 3.6apg, 2.3spg and 1.4bpg in the Asian Club Championships for Al Hilal. Before that, he played briefly in China and Puerto Rico. All three are stat-heavy places that aren't even close to replicating the calibre of NBA play. Always a marginal talent, save for one good year, DerMarr will have to go some to win this spot.
[...] Johnson proved a long time ago that being an athletic 6'9 shooting guard is only an asset if you do something with it. DerMarr never did, showing himself only to be a jumpshooting specialist who's only average at jumpshooting. (You might also want to keep him away from his similarly heighted namesake, Wesley, who is a bit too similar offensively to DerMarr for comfort.)
DerMarr Johnson - Johnson was a surprise inclusion on the Timberwolves training camp roster, but he didn't even last a week. He quickly moved to the Lebanon to play for Sagesse, but was quickly replaced by Darryl Watkins. He is now unsigned.
- DerMarr Johnson - Johnson hasn't been in the NBA since an abortive stint with the Spurs at the end of the 2007-08 season. He played only 5 games for them, then got done for DUI after the season finished. Since that time, Johnson has been in China, Puerto Rico and Saudi Arabia, avoiding Europe after an unsuccessful stint there in 2007. Johnson is touted as a tall shooter, but he's just not that great of a shooter.
Ponce have had more import turnover than most teams. They've had quality players, but not much piece of mind. The Lions started the year with Collins and Johnson, one a former NBA #6 pick, and one a former highly touted prospect who couldn't stay out of trouble for long enough to crack the big league. Both players had spent the majority of this year in China, but neither for very long. Johnson played in the first ten games for Jiangsu, and was remarkably inconsistent; after a 43 point debut and a 29 point 13 rebound second game, he totalled only 40 points over the next three games, recovered a bit, then had a 5 point outing in his penultimate game before leaving the team.
[...] In the 7th place playoff game between Philippines enigma Smart Gilas and Saudi Arabian team Al Hilal - yes, they have a seventh place playoff game in the Asian Club Championships - ex-NBA guard DerMarr Johnson put up 37 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists and 6 steals for the Saudis. They lost anyway.
As regular viewers of this site will know, the Chinese CBA and the Puerto Rican BSN are of particularly interest in these posts, for those two leagues house an unduly awesome amount of former NBA talent. Additionally, with the CBA taking place between December and April, and the BSN from March until June, a lot of players tend to take part in both. It's two paychecks, after all.
Johnson is one who has done just that. As outlined in this post about Chinese Basketball Association statistics - a piece that has made me a figure of bilious hate and scorn amongst the Chinese basketball community, who feel slighted that an Englishman would write about their league while singularly misunderstanding that the reason it was only a look at statistics was because IT WAS ONLY A LOOK AT STATISTICS - Johnson totalled a very inconsistent 19.9ppg and 5.8rpg for Jiangsu, before leaving the team in January. He then moved to Puerto Rico for the start of their season, and averaged 11.9 points and 4.7 rebounds for Ponce Lions. However, he was released last week, along with DeAngelo Collins, to be replaced by Leon Rodgers and Andre Brown. All four are China/Puerto Rico duellists, which reinforces what I just said just now about that.
Jiangsu started the year with Johnson, who played in their first ten games before being replaced by Harvey for the next 18. Johnson was remarkably inconsistent; after a 43 point debut and a 29 point 13 rebound second game, he totalled only 40 points over the next three games, recovered a bit, then had a 5 point outing in his penultimate game before leaving the team. He is now signed in Puerto Rico. His replacement Harvey has been incredibly consistent and highly productive, tied for 4th in the league in rebounds per game and only just placing outside the top 10 in points as well. Harvey has 14 double doubles in his 18 games, and while his numbers are down on the 30/15 he averaged for Jiangsu last year, they're still pretty damn good.
(The above video is of Johnson rapping under the name "Boss Slim," in a song whose lyrics seem designed to convey the fundamental principles of driving. Changing lanes? All good information.)
Perhaps there is no greater example of the relentless banality of song lyrics than the following example, a seminal smash by Don Juan, Boss Slim and Fever, entitled "Zoom." The reason this warrants inclusion in this post is that "Boss Slim" is the alias of DerMarr Johnson, the early 21st century version of his namesake Wesley who last played in the Lebanon.
The song may have been written with a greater public interest in mind, concerned as it is with basic public safety information. Boss Slim outlines many of the great perils faced by road users today, most of which are borne of the inconsideration of other users. Random lane changes, speeding, lack of proper signalling, illegal window tinting, and dangerous driving in general, are all brought to our attention in DerMarr's verse (as, apparently, is the benefit of regularly washing). It would be a lot more socially responsible were DerMarr addressing these matters responsibly, rather than by lauding them as cool things that he does. Nevertheless, at least there's a theme. (What this all has to do with "Zoom" is unclear, yet it's certainly a concept the cameraman is struggling with.)
A strong parallel can here be drawn between "Zoom" by DerMarr Johnson, and "Friday" by Rebecca Black. Whereas Boss Slim talks about driving badly, having a clean car, and his need to have people look at him on the road, Boss Black instead talks about which seat to sit in, the advantages of cars over public transport, and the delicate spectral balances achieved by careful positioning of both other occupants in the car and other cars on the road. Indeed, both touch upon the seemingly underappreciated danger and frustration of randomly changing lanes for no reason. A definite corollary is clearly in evidence.
One of these videos has exploded in popularity, standing at 146 million views on Youtube at the time of writing, with almost as many parodies/insulting statements about it dotted around them web. The other one, no one cares about. One of them has become the means to hate a young girl, to distort and warp her life before it has even begun, to even make death threats towards it, to ruin the life of a youngster undeserving of such pathetic vitriol. The other one is the generic aspirations of an unemployed basketball player who long fell out of the public eye, and so there's been no backlash.
Is this the way it should be? Should it be the case that we rise up as one against the processed, interchangeable pap that is forced in our direction with the strength in numbers and power of anonymity that the internet provides, using our combined muscle to ridicule the 13 year old girl that is powerless to defend herself, because we know that our anger really lies at the industry vehicle behind her 15 minutes, and thus DerMarr's independent ramblings are exempt from said vitriol? Or is the case that both are just trying to have fun, that both just wanted to make a song for the sheer bloody hell of doing it, that neither was trying to say anything meaningful, and that both ought thus be treated equally, as the personal entertainment projects that they really are? Which should it be? I don't know.
Note: Non-US teams that the player
has played for are, unless stated otherwise, from the top division in
that nation. If a league or division name is expressly stated, it's not
the top division. The only exceptions to this are the rare occasions where
no one league is said to be above the other, such as with the JBL/BJ League
split in Japan.