On The Court
Johnson was selected by the Pistons with the 56th pick of the 2005 NBA Draft. Known for his athleticism, he was drafted straight out of Westchester High School in Los Angeles, deciding to skip a collegiate career. He is the last high school player to be selected in the NBA Draft, as the NBA instituted a rule prior to the 2006 Draft that requires American players to be at least one year removed from the graduation of their high school class to be eligible. Then-Pistons head coach Larry Brown commented that he thought Johnson will become a special player someday.
Johnson spent the 2005–06 NBA season on the Pistons’ roster, but appeared in only three games. He scored his first NBA basket on a windmill dunk against the Minnesota Timberwolves on January 24, 2006. On February 27, 2006, the Pistons assigned him to the Fayetteville Patriots of the NBA Development League. Johnson was recalled by the Pistons and on April 17, 2006 scored 18 points against the Milwaukee Bucks, making all six of his field goal attempts, both 3-point attempts, and all four of his free throw attempts.
Johnson spent most of the 2006–07 season playing for the D-League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce, where he earned Player of the Week honors and notice for his play. In 22 games for the Skyforce, Johnson averaged 18.9 points per game, 9.7 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game, while shooting 62.3% from the field.
Johnson was recalled by the Pistons on two occasions during the 2006–07 season, including prior to the final week of the regular season. On April 19, 2007, Amir Johnson scored a career-high 20 points, grabbed 12 rebounds (6 of them offensive), and recorded four blocks and three steals in 37 minutes against the Boston Celtics.
On July 12, 2007, Johnson signed a 3-year, $11 million extension to remain with the Pistons. On June 23, 2009, Johnson was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks as a part of a three-team trade between Bucks, Pistons and the San Antonio Spurs, which included Richard Jefferson. And on August 18, 2009, Johnson was traded to the Toronto Raptors along with Sonny Weems in exchange for Carlos Delfino and Roko Ukić.
In high school, Amir was named a 2005 McDonald’s High School All- American. He was also named 2005 Mr. Basketball in California and a Los Angeles’ Player of the Year by the Los Angeles Times. During his senior year at Westchester HS he averaged 21.0 points, 15.0 rebounds and 8.0 blocks and led the team to a state championship and a top-five national ranking
Off The Court
Amir Jalla Johnson, son of Deneen Griffin, grew up in L.A. playing basketball whenever he could. His sister, Indi, plays forward for the women’s basketball team at Southern University and his cousin, Kevin Burnett, is a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys. When not playing basketball, Amir loves to play video games, listen to music and would love to study computer science. He is also very active in the community, taking part in high school back-to-school programs, visiting local hospitals and enabling low income youths to attend games though “Amir’s Hyphy Crowd”
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In honor of the 2014/2015 NBA season NBA.com counts down Amir’s top 10 plays as a Toronto Raptor!