Stanley Johnson – Will he be the ‘best’ in the draft?


Stanley Johnson brings a lot of energy. But can he bring more to a franchise? (Photo credit to wildcat.arizona.edu)
Stanley Johnson brings a lot of energy. But can he bring more to a franchise? (Photo credit to wildcat.arizona.edu)

Stanley Johnson is the focus of today’s prospect profile.

He had a stellar freshman season on a very good Arizona Wildcat team.

What do I think he could be at the next level?

Here is my opinion.

I really struggled with Johnson. I mean I am stumped. I don’t know what he is, nor can I even remotely project what he might be at the next level.

This is probably a very poor attempt, but I wanted to do it anyway.

I’ll start with his body. He is 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds, so that’s pretty solid for the next level. I was watching Johnson play against Michigan. Arizona torched Michigan. In fact, he torched Michigan. Johnson finished the game with 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists. He also limited Caris LeVert to two-of-nine from the field.

He displayed good quickness on defense and seemed to play with intensity, even while the Wildcats were blowing out the Wolverines. He didn’t let up. I like that.

He has good strength. He is definitely ready for the NBA, strength-wise. However, I believe that his “strength” might be his only noticeable strength.

I understand that he was a pretty good defender all year. He also has good lateral quickness; at least that’s what it looks like on YouTube.

He is able to get to the basket because of his strength, even though he is fairly quick with his first step.

My biggest issue, and I can’t tell if I only have one issue or many, is that, at 6-foot-6, is he a small forward or a power forward? This is wreaks of former Wildcat Derrick Williams a few years ago. Johnson is a tweener. I’m sorry, but I can’t see him guarding power forwards in the NBA, and he may be forced to play power forward, at times, because of his indefinable position on offense.

He looked fairly decent in the post, but a player can only get away with doing the same move over and over. I would like to see him develop a go-to NBA move, like Shabazz Muhammad has done with his right shoulder jump hook.

He shot 37 percent from three this past season, but his mechanics look so-so. Maybe he could become a very good spot-up shooter? I don’t see him as a player who is able to hit threes off the dribble.

He seems to always give effort, especially when it comes to defense and rebounding. Those are extremely valuable tools that don’t require any skill. That’s what he could become. A tough guy like Tony Allen, and maybe he could become a great defender like Allen.

Now, he has proclaimed himself as “the best player in the draft,” but I think that’s far from true. He works hard, and maybe that hard work will pay off down the road to where he becomes one of the better players in the league.

His athleticism isn’t overwhelming. I don’t think we will see this guy fly down the floor with the ball and take off on three guys. I don’t believe he possesses that.

DraftExpress highlighted his scoring ability as one of his strengths but, in my opinion, I think it’s a misworded. They listed a stat that said he scored .96 points per possession in transition, proving that he isn’t efficient when it comes to scoring on the break. I think a lot of NBA fans would agree that to have good scoring ability, one has to be able to score efficiently, especially in transition. The NBA is all about efficiency. It’s quite clear he will need to improve.

I’ve probably done a terrible job at profiling Johnson, but I see what he brings to the table. I don’t know if I like it, though. Somebody might bring some great looking food to a dinner party, but it might turn out to taste like garbage. I’m not saying Johnson is garbage, I don’t see what he does really well.

Of course, if there is a power outage at the dinner party, make sure Johnson is there because he does bring energy. I think there is a good chance he could become a very good defensive player in the NBA. I don’t think he will be much of an offensive player, though.

He has drawn comparisons to Kawhi Leonard and Ron Artest. I see some Artest, Allen, Corey Brewer and DeJuan Blair in him, but no Leonard. He doesn’t have the length or athleticism of the 2014 NBA Finals MVP.

I won’t rule out the possibility that he might become something like Leonard. After all, a lot of people didn’t think Leonard would become a good shooter. Those people were wrong.

I don’t have my draft big board put together yet, but I see that a lot of boards have him in the top 10. At this point, I would say he is either No. 10 or just outside the number.

I hope the team that drafts him is able to develop him into a good player. I didn’t mean to sound too negative.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend, and feel free to leave a comment! I appreciate the comments.

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