The former G-League sensation is turning heads in Brooklyn.
If there’s one thing we love in sports it’s a good underdog story. And no fan base loves an underdog like Brooklyn Nets fans.
Last season Nets fans lauded over Chris Chiozza, the Mighty Mouse point guard out of Florida. Now, their praise and adulation are being showered upon a new guy: forward Alize Johnson.
For those unfamiliar, Johnson was originally drafted in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft by the Pacers. He had only seen action in a handful of games in the NBA over the past two years.
Earlier this year, Alize was dominant for the Toronto Raptors G-League affiliate Raptors 905 in the NBA G-League Bubble (Gubble). Johnson helped lead his squad to a 12-3 record, averaging 16.6 points and 13.3 rebounds per game, while posting shooting splits of 57/33/76. His play earned him Second Team All NBA G-League honors.
The Nets saw enough to sign the 24-year-old forward to a 10-day contract at the end of March.
In his first game with Brooklyn, Alize had Nets Twitter buzzing when he dropped 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds against the Utah Jazz in 33 minutes of action.
Granted, Johnson saw extended minutes that night due to the Nets without the services of their Big 3, however, he made the most of those minutes and really left an impression on the Brooklyn faithful. In his next two games, Johnson saw garbage time minutes but really earned his stripes in the team’s most recent win against the Knicks.
Alize played a pivotal role in Brooklyn’s comeback victory over their crosstown and division rivals. In 17 minutes, Johnson scored 12 points and pulled down 7 boards. His energy off the bench was exactly what an already shorthanded Nets squad needed, especially with James Harden leaving the game in the first quarter due to a hamstring injury.
Falling in love with a G-League signing that seemingly came out of nowhere seems like déjà vu for Nets fans.
As many can recall Chiozza, a G-League guy himself, stole the hearts of the Nets faithful with his performance in the Nets’ huge comeback victory over the Celtics last season. The same game in which former Net Caris LeVert scored 50 points.
Johnson was recently signed to a second 10-day contract and may have played himself into a roster spot for this Nets team who is currently dealing with a slew of injuries to key role players. He isn’t a high-flyer, 3-point marksman, or flashy passer, but there’s a grittiness to his game that is appreciated and needed on every team.
Nets fans couldn’t be happier having superstars like Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Kevin Durant on the team. But there’s just something about the “little guy” that this fan base finds so endearing.