In this latest instalment of draft profiles, I will be looking at Keldon Johnson (even though I said Bol Bol in the last one - pretty sure the Spurs won't get him and he will go in the lottery anyway).
College Team: Kentucky (Freshman)
2018-19 Stats: Over 37 games in around 31min per game he averages 13.5pts, 6reb, 0.2blk, 0.8stl, 1.6ast at 46% FG, 38% 3P and 70% FT.
Projected Draft Spot: Mid 1st Rd – Late 1st Rd.
Johnson’s key skill set that will be utilised in the NBA is his offense. He is a good shooter from all areas, from the arc on in, as he has pretty smooth shooting form. One of his best attributes is being able to score on the move. On the inside, he can post up players, and attack the lane. He has a quick first-step
Johnson keeps his turnovers to a minimum, which means when he does have the ball and puts it on the floor (or is passing to team-mates) he is less inclined to lose it. That may be a significant positive for him come his rookie season. He also has a good motor, which will come in handy during a longer NBA season, and a fairly high level of BBIQ.
Johnson’s percentage from the charity stripe is not great, especially for someone who projects to be a shooting wing – that will need to change at the pro level. His foot-speed and overall athleticism aren’t elite and he may struggle to defend the quicker wing players out on the perimeter. If he is to become a rotational wing that can play at both ends, Johnson will need to work on getting more steals and/or blocks – particularly out on the perimeter.
Johnson had very inconsistent NCAA tournament, and this will probably affect his draft status, meaning he could fall from being borderline lottery to the late 1st Rd. he has a good outing to start with, and finished with a solid all-round effort (which probably show cases what he could offer at the pro level), with some forgettable games in-between. Part of the reason Johnson had an inconsistent showing at the Tournament is that his shot from deep wasn’t falling.
Game 1: 25pts, 6reb, 0stl, 0blks, 0ast – with 3 from 5 beyond the arc.
Game 2: 9 pts, 4 reb, 0stl, 0blks, 0ast – with 1 from 3 beyond the arc.
Game 3: 7pts, 7reb, 1stl, 0blks, 4ast. – with 1 from 5 beyond the arc.
Game 4: 14pts, 10reb, 1stl, 1blks, 3ast. – with 0 from 2 beyond the arc.
For a tournament average of – 14pts, 7 reb, 0.5stl, 0.25blks, 2ast – with 4 from 15 beyond the arc which equates to approx. 27%.
NBA Player Comparison: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Jimmy Butler.
Fit with the Spurs:
This is getting repetitive, but it’s valid none-the-less – the Spurs need a two-way wing. Johnson is a one-n-done, so he has the room to grow (unlike the ceiling of someone like Cam Johnson). I could see Johnson fitting alongside the likes of White and Walker, but he does replicate much of what DeRozan brings (just with an outside shot, and some D). If he can be consistent with his deep ball and become an above-average defender at the very least, then he would have a place in the Spurs line-up. If the Spurs take a taller (6’8" or 6’9") wing with the 19th pick, then taking Johnson at 29th to provide more of a small ball rotation could be possible.
Then again there is footage of him flirting with a female celebrity during a game, so not sure if that really represents a Spursy, high character type of player.
Next Profile: Nassir Little