LAS VEGAS — The Sixers quickly pursued Amir Johnson at the start of free agency in their hunt for veteran experience. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens believes the Sixers will get leadership and much more.
“He’s the guy you want with young guys,” Stevens said this week.
Johnson most recently played for the Celtics for his 11th and 12th NBA seasons. He was a vocal member of a playoff team each year there. His personality became infectious.
“If you lose, he’s positive and talking about there’s always tomorrow,” Stevens said. “If you win, he’s talking about all the things you need to do to make sure that you continue to get better.”
Johnson worked closely with his younger teammates in Boston to share the experiences he learned coming up in the league on contending Pistons squads. He is ready to impart his wisdom on the Sixers, too.
“I'm always vocal, I'm always talking, and I got that from Rasheed Wallace of course,” Johnson said. “Me being in my 13th year, I feel like I've got a lot to give. I definitely will lead by example on the floor and have a lot to say to the young guys.”
There are plenty of young guys on the Sixers’ roster. The players that finished last season with the team have an average age of 24.5 years old.
The 30-year-old Johnson was intrigued by the Sixers' core when he signed a one-year, $11 million deal. Among his new teammates, he looks forward to playing with Joel Embiid, who impressed him when they faced off last season.
The Sixers are deep with young talent that can greatly benefit from absorbing the knowledge Johnson has to share.
“Amir’s the ultimate positive teammate," Stevens said. "He always brings the right energy, brings the right focus.”