Pistons rookie Stanley Johnson had 9 points (3-4 fg, 3-3 3pt) and 8 boards in just 16 minutes during his NBA playoffs debut vs the Cavs on Sunday. Impressive, but what impressed the most about the 19 year old was his grown-man defense against LeBron James.
Some on Twitter were shouting “foul” while Stanley was guarding the 6’8 250 pound beast that is James, but in my eyes, the defensive effort by our former All-American game MVP (and my original pre-season rookie of the year pick) was just pure beautiful physical defense that made me want to pull out and listen to my record copy of Illmatic while playing Live 95 on SNES.
“He’s honestly phenomenal,” Said Reggie Jackson of his teammate after Game 1. “Stanley Johnson is a complete dog. Doesn’t fear no man. He’s going to come at you and attack you. It’s a mindset we all need to have and it’s one we embrace with having him on this team.”
That no fear attitude was also buzzed about earlier in the month, when Johnson had a few things to say about Kevin Durant ‘s Detroit diss: “It’s Detroit. You know, who cares about Detroit?”
Via Detroit Free Press:
Johnson said such comments were “uncalled for” and said Durant “disrespected” the franchise. […] “If he wanted to have an impact on the game, he should have just played,” Johnson said after this morning’s shoot-around.
“No one is scared of playing against him on this side of town,” Johnson said. “Next year we have two games scheduled, and I know, for me, it’s circled on my schedule from now on.” […] “I don’t think we’re something to play with,” Johnson said. “I think we can be a playoff team and you gotta respect that. I think by saying that, he disrespected our whole team.”
Despite losing game 1 to the Cavs on Sunday, Stanley and the Pistons did show they are not “something to play with.”