The San Antonio Spurs made yet another minor move on Thursday when they agreed to terms with fifth-year forward Alize Johnson on a one-year, $2 million deal.
A 6-7 power forward out of Missouri State, Johnson has yet to find a permanent home in the NBA, starting his career with the Indiana Pacers in 2018 but finding himself on four teams since then. Last season, he only saw 8.7 minutes of floor time per game, posting averages of 3.3 points and 3.7 rebounds.
On paper, it doesn't look like this signing will move the needle that much for the Spurs. At best, it'll give them another frontcourt option as they look toward eventually finding their next big man of the future in an upcoming draft or free agency period.
Still, even though he hasn't quite earned solid playing time on the teams he's found himself on, Johnson has had some pretty big games in the league. In his Brooklyn Nets debut last year, he shot an impressive 11-of-15 from the floor, tallying 23 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, and two steals in a dominant performance.
Still, that wasn't even Johnson's standout game that season.
Alize Johnson explodes for 20 points and 21 rebounds against the Pacers
Showing he can still crash the glass despite being a bit undersized, Alize had a performance similar to one Keldon Johnson had last year when he put up 23 points with 21 rebounds. Facing the Indiana Pacers, Alize gobbled up the glass to the tune of 21 total rebounds, four of them being offensive.
In addition to dominating the glass, Johnson poured in 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the floor. To make this performance even more impressive, he did all of that while coming off the bench for Brooklyn.
As you'll see in the highlights below, Johnson was a workhorse inside all game long on both ends of the floor. Pay attention to his positioning -- he was often able to find a good spot to be fed the ball for an easy finish and constantly outsmarted his man for rebounds.
Of course, when looking at the stats, it's clear that these games are few and far between for the 26-year-old. In San Antonio, I imagine he'll get some run, but it could be on a limited basis or as insurance when other forwards go down with an injury.
Still, the monster game Alize had last year reminds me that this is the NBA after all -- and everyone on the floor at a given time has serious game. The Spurs saw enough in him to give him a one-year deal -- it'll be up to him to prove he's more than just brilliant flashes now and then.