A long-awaited dream just became reality for Keon Johnson.
The former Tennessee standout was just selected in the first round of the NBA Draft with the 21st pick to the New York Knicks. The Knicks have now traded the pick and Johnson will play for the Clippers, which will allow him the opportunity to learn from Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Johnson after being selected. I feel like all the work I’ve put in up until this moment has paid off.”
Johnson only played one season in Knoxville, but his play during that season, which was impacted by COVID-19, was enough to build on his hype from prep ranks and earned him a first-round selection.
Johnson broke an NBA Draft combine record with a 48-inch vertical jump earlier this summer, and there is no denying he is an athletic freak.
His ability as a defender piqued multiple team’s interests in him and coupled with a strong belief that he is only just emerging as a two-way player made his upside far too high for NBA teams to pass up.
Johnson averaged 11.3 points per game last season while grabbing 3.5 rebounds per contest along with 2.5 assists. Below is a look at Johnson's SI Draft Profile:
One of the most athletic guards in the upcoming draft, Keon Johnson has quietly moved up draft boards over the past year. After he posted a 48-inch vertical jump at the combine, which was 2.5 inches more than the record previously set in 2001, he projects to be a solid defender that needs to polish his offensive game.
Johnson is one of the best athletes in this class, which will help him a ton at the next level. It helps him especially on defense as he’s able to make life difficult for guards on the perimeter.
When he gets into the lane, Johnson is an explosive dunker and an excellent finisher at the rim. In terms of potential upside as a project, he could be one of the best in July’s draft.
While he’s a great finisher, Johnson needs to improve his jumper drastically. As a shooter and playmaker, his game isn’t where it needs to be.
Taking care of the ball was also a huge concern for Johnson, who committed more turnovers than assists in college. When it comes down to it, making his offensive game more well-rounded will be his biggest challenge.