NBA Draft profile: Get to know Kentucky basketball’s Keldon Johnson

The essentials

Position: Shooting guard.

NBA Combine measurements: Height without shoes, 6-4.75; height with shoes, 6-6; weight, 216.4; wingspan, 6-9.25; standing reach, 8-8; body fat, 5.6%.

2018-19 Kentucky statistics: 13.5 points; 5.9 rebounds; 1.6 assists; 0.8 steals; 30.7 minutes; 46.1 FG%; 38.1 3PT%; 70.3 FT%.

Player comparisons (via The Ringer): Shades of Otto Porter Jr., Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Garrett Temple.

Draft predictions

The Ringer (updated 6/15): 16th to the Orlando Magic.

SI.com (6/17): 15th to the Detroit Pistons.

CBS Sports (6/10): 25th to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Yahoo Sports (6/12): 17th to the Atlanta Hawks.

Pre-draft analysis

From The Ringer: “Decisive scorer; he grabs the ball and goes when attacking closeouts or sprinting in transition, taking long strides on his way to the rim. Improving 3-point shooter who has good touch on floaters, which helps dampen any concerns about his funky, leaning shooting form. Hard-nosed rebounder unafraid to mix it up with bigs. Plays with effort and passion. … High, loose dribble limits his ability to create scoring opportunities for himself. He relies on brute force on straight-line drives, and lacks any finesse with the ball in his hands. Robotic passer who doesn’t make advanced reads.”

From CBS Sports: “… He’s long enough to play small forward … . His 3-and-D skill set is plug and play for a team like the Trail Blazers..”

From SI.com: “Johnson’s draft stock has been stabilized by his intangibles, and teams think his competitive makeup bodes well, giving him a good chance to find a useful role somewhere and add value. He’s not a great off-dribble creator, but he’s strong, can score at all three levels, and defends willingly. … Teams are curious to see in which order the three Kentucky players are actually drafted.”

From Yahoo Sports: “Johnson is a standard wing who can slide down and play the two. He can knock down the three and is explosive in transition.”


ESPN analyst Jay Bilas: “He’s a hard-nosed, physical player that can guard people. I think as a defender, that’s where he shows the most promise, but he can get downhill on offense, hit a pullup jump shot. I think he’ll continue to improve his range as a shooter. But from the college line, shot a very solid, what, 39%, if I remember right, made almost 50 threes. I think he can improve his shooting and free-throw shooting. That’s the next step. But he has a lot of ability. It just needs to be refined. …

“I’m a big fan of Keldon Johnson because of his versatility on both ends of the floor. He’s got a pretty complete game. With his versatility defensively, the fact that he plays hard, can play in transition, they can plug him in just about anywhere, on anybody. I think he just has to improve his perimeter shooting. But I like him very much as a player.”

Keldon Johnson: “Big Blue Nation, thank you for my time here at Kentucky. … You guys made for the best year I could ever have. I really appreciate you guys taking me in as family and one of your own and supporting me through the thick and thin of the season and supporting this team.”

John Calipari: “Keldon has a game that will translate well to the next level. Of all the players in this draft, he could have one of the best transitions physically and athletically. He has all the tools you look for in a player in that league, and what makes him special is his joy for the game and his passion to get better.”

Reading material

If NBA teams have questions about his game, Kentucky’s Keldon Johnson has answers

‘Raring to go.’ See what dads of three UK players headed to NBA Combine had to say.

Effort will never be a problem for Keldon Johnson

A Kentucky streak is on the line in the 2019 NBA Draft

‘Like a brother.’ Kentucky wing, Florida forward form a strong bond.

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