Joe Johnson: Nets 'More Talented' Outside of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2014

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The Brooklyn NetsJoe Johnson gets paid a lot of money, over $21 million for the 2013-14 season alone.

It's not for his opinions.

Johnson's latest pontification, courtesy of The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson: "Outside of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, we’re more talented than them."

File this one under "interesting but irrelevant." Sure, if you take the other team's two best players out of the equation, there might be a case to be made that Brooklyn has the better team. Unfortunately for those talented Nets, James and Wade are still very much part of the equation.

Johnson's point might be that the Nets have the deeper team. That, too, is suspect. Good as that team has looked on paper all season, it's been thoroughly outplayed in its first two games against the Miami Heat.'s Zach Harper offers a pretty damning assessment of Johnson's thoughts:

Deron Williams may be talented, but he hasn't shown up and has been outplayed by Mario Chalmers. Let's run that back. The more talented point guard has been outplayed by Mario ChalmersKevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are certainly more talented... if we're transporting ourselves and this post back to 2007. The Nets' bench? Well, let's see. Miami has Ray Allen, Udonis Haslem, Chris Andersen, Norris Cole, and if we're just going to go on talent, Michael Beasley and Greg Oden. The Nets have Mirza Teletovic, Andray Blatche, Alan Anderson and I mean seriously are we talking about this?

At least one person is.

For his part, Johnson has had a brilliant postseason. Though he hasn't exactly been dominant against the Heat, he averaged 21.9 points per contest against Brooklyn's first-round opponent, the Toronto Raptors. He was easily head coach Jason Kidd's most reliable option...and really one of his few reliable options.

The Nets certainly have some big (and yes, talented) names, but that probably shouldn't be confused with effectiveness or anything that actually matters. Paul Pierce is now 36, and his performances have been frustratingly uneven. Kevin Garnett is nearly 38 and looking every bit his age.

Of course, if there's anything to Johnson's claim, we'll find out soon enough. The real test of Brooklyn's talent won't be how it measures up against the Heat sans James and Wade. The real test will be how effectively all that talent contains James and Wade—and the rest of the deceptively deep Heat.

The Nets' next opportunity to turn this series around is just around the corner. Brooklyn will host the Heat for Game 3 on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET. The Nets currently trail in the series 2-0.