2019 NBA Draft Profile: Keldon Johnson

06/12/2019 at 07:06pm

Keldon Johnson is a competitive, strong wing who showed the ability to space the floor, take the ball strong to the rim, and defend multiple positions as a freshman at Kentucky. Emerging as a prospect early in his prep career, Johnson rose to prominence as an upperclassman finishing his career at Oak Hill Academy as a McDonald’s All-American and a consensus top-15 prospect in the high school class of 2018. Stepping into a starting role from day one for John Calipari, Johnson started the season on a high note scoring 23 points against Duke and averaged 13.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game on the year to earn SEC Freshman of the Year honors.

  • Possesses good size for a wing measured at 6’6 in shoes with a 6’9.25 wingspan to go along with a strong 216-pound frame at the NBA Combine. Strong athlete who muscles his way to the rim as a slasher and can play well above the rim with a head of steam.

  • Played a significant role for a Kentucky team that did not rely on any one player too heavily game-to-game. Did much of his scoring in spot up and off screen situations making set shots at a strong rate and attacking closeouts aggressively. Filled lanes well in transition and contributed some hustle plays using his athleticism and competitiveness to be a factor in space and around the rim as well.

Shot Charts

PlayType Analysis

  • Played almost exclusively off the ball with 35% of his possessions coming on Spot Ups, 12% coming on Off Screens, and the large majority of the 25% he got in Transition coming on the wings and not as a ball handler. 34% of his shot attempts in the half court are catch and shoot jumpers with another 32% coming on finishing opportunities as even if he does not often create for himself in a traditional sense, he is adept at attacking closeouts and being aggressive taking the ball to the rim when the opportunity presents itself. Doesn’t get a ton of elevation on his jump shot, but has reliable mechanics. Scored 1.184 points per catch and shoot jump shot in the half court [79th percentile] and even threw in midrange shots off one dribble with nice consistency curling off screens.

  • Not the most creative ball handler or finisher, but was very efficient offensively because of how simple he kept things off the dribble last season. Either dribbled to his spots and rose up or took the ball hard to the rim. Takes the ball strong to the rim often overpowering smaller wings at the college level and scored 1.106 points per shot around the rim in the half court [48th percentile]. Plays above the rim with a head of steam, but is still learning to pick and choose his spots, change speeds more effectively off the dribble, and make the crafty play instead of the aggressive one in close.

  • Does a nice job getting to the free throw line for a player that does not handle the ball extensively. Will crash the glass aggressively for a wing and finish lobs impressively on occasion cutting backdoor.

  • Could be more crisp making decisions as a passer, but is not especially mistake-prone as it stands.

  • Ranked 3rd in the SEC in Spot Up scoring (5.3 ppg)
  • Ranked 3rd in the SEC in Off Screen scoring (1.8 ppg)

Defensive Analysis

  • Shows promising hustle and fire defensively. Solid rebounder for a wing. Brings sturdy play to the defensive end with his combination of length and strength. Physicality is a plus when he’s dialed in. Competitiveness helps him do a nice job at the point of attack against other wings. Has some developing to do defending off the ball and in terms of instincts in the passing lanes.

  • Allowed 0.618 points per one-on-one possession faring equally well in isolation and post up situations.