PG – 6’1, 190lbs – Born 20th January 1995
In four years at three prominent schools – Rutgers counts as prominent, despite the profound struggles of, ooh, the last forty years or so – Johnson never once cracked the 40% shooting mark from the field. Only once did he surpass the .482% true shooting percentage he shot as a freshman; it was in the .521% he shot the following year as a sophomore. Considering he is a score-first small guard who has never displayed much of an affinity or an intent for playing the point guard spot in a more traditional style, this is something of an issue.
The solution is to use Johnson in a specific way. He is not a lead guard you can reliably turn to to move around a defence, steady the ship or close out games. He tends to dominate the ball as though he is that, but he isn’t. Instead, Johnson is best served as a change-of-pace guard off the bench. Inefficient though he can be, he can score in bunches, and he is a very good shooter when taking the right kind of shots (i.e. catch and shoots rather than shooting on the move). When he can pair that with defensive commitment, he becomes a useful reserve guard.
When engaged defensively, Johnson has good hands, which he pairs with his good speed to be a presence at the lead guard spot. He only defends one position, but if he can defend it with zest, that counts for something. At Virginia, he never looked entirely comfortable in the pack line defence, and all too often missed his spots. But that is in the past now. Now, if Johnson can prove his value as a committed defensive hounder of opposing lead guards, he could find a G-League role.
Between the scoring inefficiency, the sporadic defence and the limited half-court management skills, though, that’s a lot still to prove.
– 20th June, 2019
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