It’s almost officially summer and that means the NBA Draft is right around the corner. At Project Spurs, we are trying to get you prepared for any potential prospect the Spurs might draft out of college.
This week’s prospect to watch is Kentucky guard Keldon Johnson.
While he primarily plays shooting guard, he could find himself moving over to small forward in smaller lineups and is strong to play there defensively. The 6-foot-6, 211-pound Wildcat would be a great defensive addition to the Spurs while his offense has been much better than people thought it would be up to this point.
For reference, here are some of his stats from his lone season in Lexington:
- 13.5 PPG, 1.6 APG, 5.9 RPG
- 46.3 FG%, 38.1 3P%, 70.3 FT%
- 18.6 PER, 115.9 ORtg, 98.3 DRtg
Johnson can be a lockdown defender as he takes his assignments personally on that end of the floor. He has an NBA-ready body with good balance and length — he has a plus wingspan — to give his matchups a tough time.
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He’s got a good IQ and when coupled with his elite defensive abilities, the sky is the limit on a Spurs team that values both those things.
One knock against Johnson early in his freshman season was his ability to consistently hit shots. He certainly put that to rest as you can see from his percentages above. He has an above average mid-range game as well, which will surely excite some Spurs fans.
He has a nice floater to get his shot off over big men in the paint and he finishes well when he attacks the basket. He’s got a great first step and has a smooth-looking shot that improved over the course of his lone collegiate season. He’s also a solid passer and can handle the ball well enough to create for himself and others.
While this young player clearly has a lot going for him, he does have some deficiencies in his game. He has to be a little more assertive when it comes to taking his shot and he has to get better out of the pick and roll.
While Johnson is quite explosive, that can lead to him playing out of control at times and it has led to him picking up bad fouls. He will also need to improve his set shot at the next level and work on his footwork so his shot is not affected for the worse.
The former Wildcat will definitely be a guy the Spurs have to get at 19 as there doesn’t seem to be any way he lasts to the second round and definitely not to the 29th pick.
For more prospect profiles, visit our 2019 draft profiles page.