For a rookie, Stanley Johnson sure has had a lot to say lately when it comes to four-time MVP and two-time NBA champion, LeBron James.
The 19-year-old Johnson is currently locked in a battle with the 31-year-old James as part of the playoff series between the Detroit Pistons and the Cleveland Cavaliers, which the latter leads 2-0.
The California-native has been outspoken regarding his battles with King James during the series at the small forward position, and his fearless approach is leaving many to wonder if the eighth pick in last year's draft is disrespectful or simply competitive.
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Johnson believes he is doing a solid job of breaking James' rhythm at the moment and his intense defensive play is causing the Cavaliers' franchise player to take some shots he wouldn't like to take.
"I could care less if I'm in his head or in his mind or anything like that," Johnson said. "I'm just trying to play basketball. It's up to him how he wants to react to whatever he does. I think I'm in a good place. He had a great night. He's had a couple great nights. He made a couple tough-ass shots.
"He hit two 3's, which is not, like, his norm. He hit a tough-ass turnaround on me, and he played really physical. I battled physical. He didn't get any paint touches. He made a bunch of tough shots. So he's going to have to go 40 minutes and make those same tough shots every game for them to do what they did tonight."
According toESPN Stats & Information, James has scored 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting against Johnson as his primary defender in the series. On top of that, James went 6-for-6 against Johnson for 13 points in game two on Wednesday night.
It would seem the stats don't particularly backup what Johnson is suggesting. However, the industrious forward made some assertions about the east's top seeds and how they trash talk, and he doesn't like their style.
"He jabbers," Johnson said of James. "He moves his mouth sometimes. Their whole team does, kind of like their little cheerleaders on the bench. Every time you walk in the right corner. They're always saying something like they're playing basketball, like they're actually in the game. There's only seven or eight players who play, I don't see why the other players are talking. They might as well just be in the stands, in my opinion.
"I wish he would just talk when [the game] is 0-0, not when he's up 16," Johnson said. "I think that's more - that means something. That means you're confident in yourself. You believe what you're about to do. Don't talk after you made a couple shots. Anybody can do that."
Some curious comments from Johnson indeed given James' profound impact on the series thus far. LeBron hit a game-high 27 points in game two and what better way is there to silence someone than winning?
Trash-talking is a lost art to some in the NBA today, but Johnson appears reluctant to let it die.