Keldon Johnson: Tools
Our scouting grades represent the composite opinion of at least three different scouts. Each category is graded based on how we view a player’s current ability level relative to NBA players at the same position (guard, wing, forward or big). A grade of 1 indicates replacement level, a grade of 5 indicates NBA average, and a grade of 10 indicates historically elite. Our composite scouting notes help provide context for our grades.
Though Johnson isn’t usually the ball handler when pushing the pace, he still uses his skill in this area to great value by filling lanes on the wings and pushing ahead. He isn’t especially fast baseline-to-baseline, but he he won’t be left behind either. In the half court, his first step and short area burst is below average, but he is above average at deceleration and changing speeds.
He can move his feet well enough to be a decent on-ball defender, but Johnson isn’t someone you want stalking the point of attack for 36 minutes a night. He has decent hips and can contain wings and bigger guards, but leans on his frame to do the bulk of the work defensively. He is a good relocator who is learning to keep his balance as he rotates his momentum into his shooting mechanics.
Johnson is a decent leaper, but his skills in this area aren’t going to be the focal point of many reports. He is a good jumper off two feet and with momentum, but his standing leap (and second jump off one foot) tends to be lackluster. He is a good distance jumper, something he utilizes on drives by elevating before his defender and pushing toward the basket.
Johnson has a strong core, a rarity for young players, and is willing to initiate contact on the way to the hoop. He isn’t an explosive leaper, but with momentum he brings significant strength which can bump opponents and give him enough daylight to get a shot up. Defensively, he has good on-ball discipline with active hands to be disruptive. He will pick up cheap fouls from time to time, but usually as a result of swiping down at the ball (a tell for NCAA referees of a reach).
Johnson has a solid frame for an off-ball guard, though he lacks the length to guard bigger wings for long periods of time. He weighs 211 pounds and looks as if he could add more bulk to his frame, which will give him a sturdy body to allow him to apply more pressure when guarding up a position. Adding weight might cost him some height on his leaps, but bringing more force with him plays more toward his current strengths.