Keldon Johnson was a top recruit in 2018, and didn’t disappoint. He finished his freshman year with a statline of 13.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.8 SPG, and 1.6 TOPG on splits of 46/38/70. Here is his full scouting report:
Name: Keldon Johnson
Height/Weight: 6’5 1/2 / 213
Wingspan/ standing reach: 6’9/ 8’7
Hand size: 9 ¼
College/ country: Kentucky
Tools: Slashing, athleticism
- Excellent athlete
- Penetrates defenses well/ good slasher
- Good defender- great recovery ability
- Shooting upside
- Good runner & floater
- Inconsistent jump shot
- Lacks confidence as a shooter/ drive first, shoot second
- Needs to add strength
- Only average length
Overall: Keldon Johnson will be one of the youngest players in the league at the start of the 2019-20 season. Johnson is a very good athlete that knows how to use his tools both as a slasher and as a defender. However, oftentimes at Kentucky, he was bullied defensively or held back on drives against stronger and bigger players. His jump shot mechanics need polishing and he needs to speed up his shot as a whole. Johnson is a solid athlete and needs to continue adding strength. With added strength will come more successful slashing ability, which would open his whole game up. The attraction to Keldon Johnson will be his upside as a shooter and how much better he can be with a completely filled in frame. He should be a good slasher for years, but Johnson could elevate his game to become a top 100 player if he can become a respectable shooter as well.
NBA Comparison: Arron Afflalo
Projected draft range: 10-24
Fit with Mavericks/best fit: Johnson likely won’t be had by Dallas barring a massive slide or a trade, but he would be a great fit due to the shortage of wings and slashing on the roster.
Detroit would be the best fit, as Detroit has a slim wing unit. Johnson fills a position of need for Detroit and brings much needed athleticism to the roster. Johnson’s lack of strength could limit his effectiveness from day 1, but his frame shows opportunity for growth. While his lack of strength could be an issue, he can get to the basket at ease and was a good finisher at Kentucky. The area that would need to improve first with Detroit is his shooting consistency. While his release has a minor flaw, the biggest improvement he can make as a shooter is to be more confident. He wasn’t confident in his shot at Kentucky, yet he still shot 38% from 3. Playing in the fast-paced NBA will require him to shoot without hesitation, so the Pistons coaching staff will need to work on that if they select Johnson. Having another capable slasher and potential spot up shooter will help Blake Griffin reduce his high usage and improve his overall performance. Additionally, the Pistons could potentially be entering mediocrity, so adding a long term prospect with high upside is a must at 15.