Miami Heat: Johnson’s journey back to rotation is textbook culture diagram

James Johnson #16 of the Miami Heat high-fives Kelly Olynyk #9 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
James Johnson #16 of the Miami Heat high-fives Kelly Olynyk #9 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat don’t mess around when it comes to their “culture” and how they operate. Even if it means that they may sacrifice performance for discipline.

The Miami Heat are known for what has rightfully been dubbed “Heat Culture”. While some fans poke fun at the very utterance of the term, it is a real thing.

It is evident in how the Miami Heat go about their business in every facet of operation. When you look at how well the players are conditioned, that speaks towards it. When you look at the accountability of the players, that’s an example.

When you see how players react to the repercussions or disciplines to their actions, that too and at least in most cases, is the “culture”. When you think about situations such as that of current Miami Heat forward James Johnson‘s, that is textbook Heat Culture, a diagram out of said textbook even.

James Johnson came to training camp on the outside of the parameters for what the Miami Heat consider acceptable as far as body fat and conditioning goes at the beginning of this season. He was sent home from training camp as a result of it.

After joining the team several weeks into the preseason, Johnson continued to keep his head down, not being heard from literally or as far as playing time was concerned. Now, months into the season and after several months have passed since his initial transgression, Johnson has found himself back in the swing of things.

Coach Erik Spoelstra had mentioned at times over the past couple of weeks how James Johnson has been “on his mind” as far as getting him in the game, but he just hadn’t found the spots to insert him it seems. He eventually went to him a couple of weeks back and Johson took advantage of it. More importantly and preceding him taking advantage of his opportunity, he was ready when it came, which also speaks towards the culture.

You could see that he was starting to lean back into the light of Coach Spo’s good graces as he has been sprinkled into the rotation more and more over the past few games, and to good results. Now, Coach Spo owes Johnson big time, as it was more than likely JJ‘s performance that took the Heat over the top in their most recent game.

The Miami Heat were without Jimmy Butler in their most recent contest, a back and forth affair over the Sacramento Kings. Although the game went to overtime on a huge inbounds play between Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic, had it not been for the big plays and numbers put up by James Johnson up until and throughout the overtime, the Miami Heat probably don’t come out victorious.

Johnson finished the contest with 22 points, six rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. He finished second in scoring and arguably had the best overall game. While Kendrick Nunn‘s and Abedayo’s numbers were comparable overall production-wise, they both had high turnover games at six and five respectively, while Johnson had none across his 29 minutes on the floor.

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While Johnson is doing what his contract dictates that he should be capable of, we haven’t seen a ton of it, although we here at AUCH have been asking for him all season because we know what he offers. He should continue to see ample opportunity to produce moving forward, even when the Miami Heat are back closer to full health. Regardless of who, when, where, why, or how though, his case illustrates a textbook example of Heat Culture at it’s finest.