David Johnson Impresses Early in NBA Draft Combine

The former Louisville men's basketball guard had a good showing in the first day of scrimmages at the pre-draft combine.
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(Photo of David Johnson: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO - Heading into the 2021 NBA Draft Combine, the draft stock for former Louisville men's basketball guard David Johnson was anything but concrete. USA TODAY projected him as the No. 27 overall pick, Sports Illustrated at No. 47, and ESPN had him completely undrafted.

In order to cement his status as a potential first round pick in July's draft, or even a draftee at all, Johnson would have to have a good showing at the combine. Early on, it seems that he is doing just that.

Coming off the bench in game two of the first day of scrimmages, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound guard scored 10 points (3-5 FG, 0-2 3P, 4-4 FT) and added four rebounds, four assists and a block in 16:37. While maybe not an eye-popping stat line, his overall on-court play and impact on the 94-54 victory for his squad impressed those in attendance.

"Louisville's David Johnson was a lot of fun to watch today," ESPN analyst Jonathan Givony tweeted. "Slid in everywhere from 1-4 doing all the little things to help his team win. Defended everyone, made some great passes and found ways to score despite his jumper not really falling. Really set the tone for his team."

Brett Siegel, a writer/analyst for the NBA Analysis Network, tweeted that Johnson's "length and athleticism is something teams are definitely interesting in seeing more of." Earlier that day, Johnson logged a standing reach of 8'8.0", the second-longest of any guard behind only Arkansas' Moses Moody. He also ran the fifth-fastest three quarter sprint at 3.03 seconds.

Johnson was the Cardinals' second-leading scorer behind Jones during the 2020-21 season, averaging 12.6 points over 19 games. He also chipped in with 5.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting 41.1% from the field and 38.6% on three-point attempts, earning honorable mention All-ACC honors.

Heading into this past season, the Louisville native was regarded to be a borderline NBA Lottery pick, and played like one to begin the season. Over his first nine games, the Trinity alum averaged 14.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists while shooting 48.0% from the floor and 45.7% from long range.

But his shaky performance in the second half of the season is the main reason why his draft stock took a hit. Johnson averaged 10.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists to 2.8 turnovers over his final ten games, while shooting 35.5% from the field and 33.3% on threes.

The combine lasts through Sunday, June 27, with the second and final day of scrimmages taking place on Friday, June 25 from 3:00 p.m. EST to 7:00 p.m. on ESPNU. The 2021 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, July 29.

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