One of many biggest younger prizes in NCAA basketball simply put his identify within the hat for the 2021 NBA Draft. Freshman Keon Johnson of the College of Tennessee Vols is forgoing a second go-around within the orange and white to affix the 2021 draft class, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Johnson is the newest one-and-done to enter into this yr’s draft, becoming a member of the likes of consensus high 3-5 picks Cade Cunningham and Jalen Suggs. Of the three, Johnson initiatives as essentially the most athletic, flashing an especially excessive motor throughout his time with Tennessee. Johnson, at 6’5, is notable for his capability and precise want to bang within the paint with a lot larger our bodies. Paired along with his athleticism and wickedly explosive first step, Keon Johnson attracts excessive comparisons to a different lengthy, bodily, and athletic swingmen like Ron Artest and Jaylen Brown.
That mentioned, he’s to be seen as a little bit of a mission. Johnson’s sport is robust however wants honing and smoothing out. Specifically, his deal with and shot mechanics may stand for little bit of sprucing up, drawing extra comparisons to Jaylen Brown as soon as once more.
Highlights from Keon Johnson’s season. He is thought of one of many quickest and most explosive gamers within the school sport when it comes to his capability to speed up from a standstill and get off his toes for dunks and blocks. He flashed actual upside in PNR because the season moved on too. pic.twitter.com/KMjMkBfof8
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) April 7, 2021
So what we’ve got right here is an athletic, defensive-minded, aggressive, and bodily scorer who’s a little bit of a finesse mission. The right groups for Keon Johnson to land on can be ones that know learn how to develop expertise that additionally match the timeline of his profession trajectory. Fortunately, we will discover these with out even leaving the lottery, the place he’s anticipated to be picked. Let’s check out Johnson’s three finest suitors:
1. Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder
If anybody is aware of learn how to spot and develop perimeter athletes with Keon Johnson’s metrics, it’s Sam Presti, the overall supervisor of the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder. Whereas not as quick or explosive within the open courtroom as Russell Westbrook, Johnson attracts notable comparisons to the human turbo automotive. Each got here into the league as uncooked machines of athleticism. Commerce in Brodie’s spring-loaded sneakers for Johnson’s size they usually match fairly nicely collectively in profile.
Johnson will even match the Thunder’s timeline very properly. They’re at present growing a bunch of younger stars, who’re all rising into very respectable younger careers. The group is highlighted by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the rising inventory of Luguentz Dort, who can be engaged on refining and enhancing their shot profiles. Keon Johnson shares the same timeline to each, as all three gamers are very younger, and he’s completely different sufficient from each of them in speedy profile to have loads of synergy and weak spot protection among the many three. Having an extended small-ball lineup of SGA, Dort, and Johnson can be a nightmare for opponents on each side of the courtroom, and the Thunder have a near-spotless file for expertise improvement and eye.
2. Golden State Warriors
Memo to the Golden State Warriors: the Andrew Wiggins experiment is failing. He has athleticism however doesn’t use it, and his motor is low on each ends of the ground. For all of the expertise that he’s had over time, he couldn’t recover from the psychological hurdle that it takes to steer a crew.
Keon Johnson is far rawer than Wiggins was coming into the league however is leaps and bounds the higher concerning angle. Pending Klay Thompson’s return, there isn’t a higher setting for Johnson to develop his ball-handling and capturing than the one surrounding one of the best capturing backcourt of all time. Give the child a few years being tutored by Steph/Klay, after which cast in fireplace enjoying reverse Draymond Inexperienced in apply, and you’ll have one of the vital proficient wings within the league to take over Golden State when Curry inevitably retires.
A number of mock drafts even have Johnson’s teammate Jaden Springer going to the Warriors forward of Johnson, however this transfer makes way more sense. Steph gained’t play without end, it’s true, however this answer presents a path to glory whether or not or not Keon Johnson instantly hits or blooms late. He has a better ceiling than Jaden Springer, and if there’s one factor this Warriors crew wants, it’s protection and athleticism. Johnson likes to do each, proper now. Think about what he could possibly be in three years with that mindset.
3. Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors positive love their underappreciated swingmen. Ujiri has constructed a veritable parade of guards and wings in Toronto over time, and the reserves appear countless. Kyle Lowry instantly involves thoughts, however so do DeMar DeRozan, Norman Powell, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, even Pascal Siakam. All of those gamers, apart from DeRozan, have been speedy afterthoughts that the Raptors become situational studs. Head coach Nick Nurse is aware of how and likes to play quick with heavy movement units, and such actions are proper in Keon Johnson’s wheelhouse.
Whether or not or not it’s within the water or the meals vans, the Toronto Raptors are capable of breathe magic into the perimeter gamers that they contact. Keon Johnson’s low-to-mid-tier comp is OG Anunoby, and the Raptors have turned him right into a reputable choice on many nights.
Johnson can take his time to develop, much like Anunoby, whereas acclimating himself to a really successful tradition. The sheer depth of the Raptors will be certain of that. OG could be their most athletic participant since DeRozan left, and Keon Johnson has an argument as essentially the most athletic perimeter participant on this draft class. Rinse and repeat right here: just like the Warriors, the Raptors are sneakily constructed to win now, regardless of accidents and fatigue. Johnson instantly contributes to that quantity, whereas nonetheless being funding for if and when Lowry and Siakam have to depart.