The Detroit Pistons selected Arizona small forward Stanley Johnson with No. 8 pick in 2015 NBA draft on Thursday night at the Barclays Center.
Johnson averaged 13.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in his freshman season for the Wildcats. He shot 44.6% from the floor in 28.4 minutes per game.
Johnson led Arizona to the Elite Eight after compiling a 31-3 record in the regular season. The 6'7" small forward was the Pac-12's Freshman of the Year and a first-team All-Pac-12 selection.
Johnson and sophomore Rondae Hollis-Jefferson were the two Wildcats who declared for the 2015 NBA draft after the season.
Mannix's Analysis: Two picks right in the mock! Stanley Johnson has the body of an NBA player. He’s powerful, and he uses that strength on the defensive end well. He has elite defensive skills, skills that should get him in Stan Van Gundy’s rotation sooner rather than later. What is he offensively? That remains to be seen. Johnson isn’t much of a ballhandler, nor is he a threat from the perimeter. It will take some coaching to develop him on that end. Fortunately, Van Gundy is one of the best teachers in the game.
Strengths: Johnson doesn’t have an elite skill on offense, but does a lot of things very well. He came up in high school relying heavily on bully-ball tactics, as he was bigger, stronger and faster than his peers. At present, he’s a power wing who could eventually be a real threat in half-court situations. His wide lower half could help him develop a back-to-the-basket game and make him an ideal small-ball power forward. He can guard multiple positions and is a great fit for the modern league, with a nearly seven-foot wingspan, quick feet and solid awareness. You can see him playing a valuable jack-of-all-trades defensive role pretty quickly. Extremely confident and good-natured, Johnson should transition just fine.
Weaknesses: Entering college, people were worried about Johnson’s shooting, but his freshman season at Arizona showcased surprising perimeter ability. He came in as a much better three-point threat (37%) than most envisioned. Johnson didn’t play with many quality shooters at Arizona and a team with better spacing could also mitigate some of his woes. Somewhat surprisingly, he struggled to finish in the paint at times, an area he’ll have to improve upon to become a dynamic threat in the NBA. He might need time to grow into a consistent scorer. Johnson also did little in the way of creating opportunities for others at Arizona, though he’s done that in the past, and it would serve him well at the next level.