In a game dominated by athleticism, NBA newcomers are often bound to find a few players that separate from the common breed of speed, physicality and raw leaping ability. Detroit Pistons second-year forward Stanley Johnson found that out the hard way on Friday night.
The Arizona product was tasked with defending Atlanta Hawks small forward Kyle Korver, a player that doesn’t possess any of the attributes listed above, but is a knock-down shooter with a fundamental approach that can catch any novice off guard.
The 13-year pro had been struggling this season, but masterfully stuck to his craft; running in between screens and creating separation — erupting for a season-high 22 points against the Pistons.
“He played really hard defensively; Korver was an education for him. He really was, and is for everybody,” Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy said about Johnson post-game. “Kyle Korver hasn’t had as many good games this year but the guy really knows how to play basketball and how to move without the ball and got Pope a couple times.”
Korver was efficient in his 29-minute outing, going 7-of-13 from the floor and 3-of-8 from beyond the arc during the Hawks’ 105-98 win over the Pistons.
“I don’t mean that in a negative sense or to be sarcastic on Stanley,” said Van Gundy. “He got an education tonight; we’ve never really put him on a guy like that. It’s different; you’ve got to be really locked in. he was trying; there was no lack of effort anywhere.”
Detroit will have a chance to bounce back against the Miami Heat on New Year’s Day.