Amir Johnson spent his previous two seasons playing for Boston, but the the 76ers forward/center won’t be getting too sentimental in facing his old team when the Sixers host the Celtics in Friday’s home opener at the Well Fargo Center.
When asked after today’s shootaround if it will be special facing his old teammates, Johnson got quickly to the point.
“No,” he said.
He then expanded on what will be special.
“It is going to be a fun night,” said Johnson, who averaged 6.5 points and 4.6 rebounds in 20.1 minutes for the Celtics last season. “It is the home opener and for me, that will be the special part to see the fans and how the crowd gets hyped, I think it is going to be fun.”
One reason it likely isn’t special to see his old team is because the current Celtics have changed drastically since losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games of the Eastern Conference final.
Just four players from that Celtics team remain on the roster. The four holdovers are guards Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, forward Jaylen Brown and center Al Horford.
“It’s like four guys (left) I think, but probably as a whole, they got rid of 15 guys including staff so it is like a whole new team,” Johnson said.
The 30-year-old Johnson, now in his 13th NBA season, says there is one benefit he will take from being in Boston the previous two seasons.
“There are similar plays that (coach) Brad (Stevens) runs that I remember,” Johnson said.
Johnson fouled out in his Sixers debut during Wednesday’s 120-115 loss at Washington. In 15 minutes and two seconds, Johnson had five points, shooting 2 of 7 from the field, and five rebounds.
“I felt I played pretty good, I could have had a lot more bounce in my step, but overall I think I played pretty good,” Johnson said.
He also saw encouraging signs, despite the loss.
“There were some good things we did,” he said. “Definitely I feel like we can beat that team and that is one of the top teams in the East. We have to clean up on little things.”
Those things include turnovers. The Sixers committed 17, compared to nine for Washington.
“We have to make sure we take care of the ball, especially if we are down three or up three,” Johnson said. “Running our plays thoroughly, everybody being in the right spot. Those things can definitely be better.”