As we keep chugging along, more Kentucky Wildcats keep getting placed on the draft board, as is often the case with coach Cal’s teams. Keldon Johnson is the latest player to snag a spot, going 23.
Sometimes, with The Ringer’s draft guide, I see something that makes me feel like I wouldn’t want to touch a prospect with a Giannis-sized pole. In Johnson’s case, it’s that they list his main selling point as “effort.” Perhaps it’s a little tongue in cheek, and effort (don’t forget energy!) do matter at the next level, particularly in terms of earning minutes defensively and homing your game, but I’m not sure that’s exactly what a prime prospect would want to have on his business card.
Johnson played just one year at Kentucky, coming out of high school as the 12th ranked prospect in his class. He joined guys like P.J. Washington this last year, and was tasked with using his 6’6” frame and 6’9” wingspan to score alongside the arsenal of rangy players Calipari brought in. He was apparently always pegged as a scorer, and his freshman year did little to dissaude that narrow moniker. He had a 52.1% effective field goal percentage, hitting 38.1% of his triples (118) attempts and 70.3% of his 155 trips to the free throw line. So not too bad. But his finishing around the rim was apparently quite poor all season, a curious development given his solid size for the position. If he’s unable to improve in that respect, it may be tough for him to develop into anything more than a catch-and-shoot guard stuck on the perimeter.
Besides a lob dunk and unencumbered dunk at the rim, most of his finishes in the paint in the video above feature below-the-rim layups and *gasp* midrange floaters. Anyone else getting some terrifying Rashad Vaughn flashbacks here? He flashes some okay in-between pull-up stuff, but otherwise his offensive game seems a little limited to me. Of course, I’m not diving through hours of defensive tape of the guy, let alone minutes, but he didn’t feel like an athlete who would leverage his size to the best of his ability on that end.
His passes seem like just making the right read at the right time, essentially basic stuff within the flow of the offense. I can’t see him making the type of “eyes in the back of his head” reads that Nickeil Alexander-Walker might spot. He doesn’t seem like a Bucks player to me. He’s the first guy we’ve covered to this point that I’d feel disappointed in if Horst opted to take him off the board at 30. For any Keldon Johnson fans, I’m very curious to see what intrigues you beyond some of his pure scoring ability. Please enlighten me in the comments below!
My pick for the #24 spot on the community draft board is...
This poll is closed
Matisse Thybulle - SF, Washington
Grant Williams - PF, Tennessee
Dylan Windler - SF, Belmont
Talen Horton-Tucker - SF, Iowa State
Nic Claxton - C, Georgia
Jontay Porter - C, Missouri
Brew Hoop Draft Board Rankings
- Zion Williamson - PF, Duke
- Ja Morant - PG, Murray State
- Jarrett Culver - SG, Texas Tech
- R.J. Barrett - SG, Duke
- Darius Garland - PG, Vanderbilt
- Coby White - SG, UNC
- De’Andre Hunter - SF, Virginia
- Cam Reddish - SF, Duke
- Sekou Doumbouya - PF, Limoges CSP, France
- Nassir Little - SF, UNC
- Jaxson Hayes - C, Texas
- Rui Hachimura - PF, Gonzaga
- Brandon Clarke - PF, Gonzaga
- Goga Bitadze - C, Mega Bemax, Adriatic Basketball Association
- P.J. Washington - PF, Kentucky
- Kevin Porter Jr. - SG, USC
- Bol Bol - PF, Oregon
- Tyler Herro - SG, Kentucky
- Romeo Langford - SG, Indiana
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker - SG, Virginia Tech
- Cameron Johnson - PF, UNC
- Ty Jerome - SG, Virginia
- Keldon Johnson - SF, Kentucky