(Photo of Adam Silver: Brad Penner - USA TODAY Sports)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - After being pushed back a month later than when it normally takes place, the 2021 NBA Draft is finally here. Mock draft and big board season is now behind us, and soon we will find out where the top talents in college basketball will be heading to start their professional careers.
For the Louisville men's basketball program, two players declared for this year's iteration of the draft in hopes of hearing their name called. Sophomore guard David Johnson and graduate transfer guard both elected to forgo their remaining collegiate eligibility, and take the next step in their careers.
Between the two, Johnson is widely expected to be the first Cardinal taken off the board in this draft. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound guard is a polarizing prospect, as his draft stock is anything but consistent, ranging all over the second round. Scouts and NBA executives like his size, court vision and feel for the game, but the same can't be said for his athleticism, spotty shooting and tendency for turnovers.
"Johnson’s best role would be as a secondary ball-moving creator on offense next to a primary guard, particularly one that is bigger and can hit pull-up jumpers. Think of someone like a Zach LaVine," The Athletic's Sam Vecenie wrote in his 2021 NBA Draft Guide. "There are roles for him to really become an effective NBA player. But he’s going to have to keep working on his frame (he could stand to get into elite shape), and he’s going to have to keep improving the jumper."
Related: David Johnson 2021 NBA Draft Profile
As for Jones, his status as a potential draftee is not nearly as cemented as Johnson's, as almost all mock drafts don't have him getting selected. Scouts love his crafty game and how he shows up in the biggest moments, but believe the 6-foot-1, 185-pound guard's size will be a real issue at the next level.
"Given the reliable nature of his game, Jones is on the lower end of the two-way spectrum for me. If I struck out on the targets above him, Jones would work for me if I needed a third point guard," Vecenie wrote. "But he would not be a priority for me, either. At best, he’s a backup guard at the NBA level who might be able to make the occasional big shot."
Related: Carlik Jones 2021 NBA Draft Profile
The 2021 NBA Draft will begin on Thursday, July 29 at 8:00 p.m. EST. ABC will televise the first of the two rounds, while ESPN will both rounds.
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