Friday June 24th, 2016

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The Clippers selected North Carolina forward Brice Johnson with the No. 25 pick in the 2016 NBA draft. 

Johnson enters the NBA after four seasons at North Carolina, where he averaged 17 points and 10.4 rebounds during his senior year. 

Johnson didn’t always have the easiest relationship with his college coach, Roy Williams. But he emerged as a true star his senior year, earning first–team AP All–America honors. 

Strengths: Johnson was an incredibly productive player in college basketball’s toughest conference, and that shouldn’t be discounted. He averaged a double double and set a UNC single-season rebound record. He excels at scoring in the post and has a variety of moves that take advantage of how athletic he is compared to most opposing big men. He is a willing and able rebounder with an excellent feel for the ball after it comes off the rim, and he rarely finds himself out of position in rebounding situations. Johnson is also a skilled shot-blocker, averaging 1.5 per game. His wingspan is just 6’11”, which means that he isn’t just blocking those shots based on pure athleticism—he knows how to defend in the post.

Weaknesses: Johnson will need to develop quite a bit more of his offensive repertoire to succeed in the NBA. In college, he primarily relied on back-to-the-basket moves to score, but he isn’t incredibly strong for his size and may have trouble moving bigger NBA post players off the block. He doesn’t have a jump shot to speak of, so he won’t be able to move into the en vogue “stretch four” role at the next level. On defense, he has some trouble defending the pick-and-roll, particularly when he finds himself on the perimeter on switches. He also gotten into foul trouble throughout his career and can let his emotions get the best of him on the floor.

Grade: B

Explanation: This isn’t a home-run swing from the Clippers, but they could use immediate contributors given their situation, and Johnson should be able to do that. He’s athletic and can finish on the inside. If he commits to being a high-energy role player, he’ll help them. There were players with greater upside available, but it’s logical given their needs. - Jeremy Woo


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