Keldon Johnson's 2019 NBA Draft Scouting Report: Analysis of Spurs Pick

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterJune 21, 2019

Kentucky's Keldon Johnson, left, celebrates as Auburn's Danjel Purifoy watches during the second half of the Midwest Regional final game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

The San Antonio Spurs have selected Keldon Johnson 29th overall in the 2019 NBA draft.

The eye test picked up his physical tools and athleticism early at Kentucky. He cooled off later in the season, but scouts still recognize the potential tied to Johnson's downhill scoring, defensive competitiveness and room to improve correctable skills.


Quick hitters

Size: 6'6"

Weight: 216.4 pounds

Wingspan: 6'9¼"

Reach: 8'8"

Pro comparison: Miles Bridges


Offensive strengths

Johnson spent 35.8 percent of his possessions working out of spot-ups, and he converted 44.0 percent of his non-dribble jumpers and 56.7 percent of his drives past closeouts. He's an accurate shooter when set or running off screens (44.2 percent), and he's an effective driver when he uses his strength and athleticism. A key shot for Johnson was also his runner (25-of-58), a valuable weapon for scoring around the key before encountering traffic under the basket.


Offensive weaknesses

Johnson shot just 17-of-52 from three during conference play. His final 38.1 percent mark was clouded by the fact he struggled later against stiffer competition, and he didn't make triples in volume (1.2 per game). He totaled 14 points all year out of pick-and-roll and isolation possessions, showing limited ability to create against a set defense. His 10.4 assist percentage highlights minimal playmaking skills.


Defensive outlook

Johnson has the body to effectively match up with guards and wings. He also plays with a competitive edge and sense of intensity. He doesn't always make reads, however. His focus can fade. And he wasn't a defensive playmaker, totaling just 28 steals and six blocks in 37 games. Johnson has the potential to be a serviceable defender, but he'll need to be coached up.


Rookie-year projection

Don't count on an efficient rookie season. The NBA's deeper arc will call for an adjustment. And he can't be used on the ball without the ability to create or pass. Right now, Johnson doesn't have any strength or skill he can bank on.


Projected role: Backup wing

It will take multiple seasons, but Johnson has the chance to emerge as a rotation wing for his ability to apply pressure by attacking, making open shots and defending. He doesn't have enough wiggle to his game to be a featured scorer or playmaker. It will be important for him to continue to make strides with his pull-up game.


Stats courtesy of Synergy Sports and Sports Reference.