Height/ Weight: 6’6, 211 lbs.
Keldon Johnson is a solid prototypical shooting guard with one of the smoothest releases in the country. It’s funny because his downside coming into his freshman year at Lexington was his erratic shooting. Johnson must’ve clearly listened because he now has one of the quickest releases and is becoming an improved shot maker game by game.
The former Oak Hill product has an amazing first step and with his size, he has the elite ability to finish when attacking the basket. With his vertical driving ability not in question, the next step for the guard will be being able to create from east-to-west to open up shooting pockets for himself from the perimeter which I know he can do. His mid-range game is above average for his age, so when he is able to develop his ball-handling horizontally at the next level he will be a tough guard.
His ball-handling and creativity when distributing is a thing of beauty. He has solid body control with his driving ability which makes him a tough guard for anybody on the court. Along with that is his deadly three point shooting.
Keldon is an explosive guard with long arms, ready to jump at any given moment on the break. Johnson is the most entertaining Wildcat to watch this season by far. With a NBA ready body for a shooting guard, Johnson’s defensive potential is also an intriguing skill he possesses. He is a defender that takes his match-up personally and his good balance and length make him a defensive nightmare. His strength to fight over screens makes his defensive ability in the passing lanes elite.
He has a solid floater that he can use over bigger defenders, a reliable free-throw shot, and has elite explosiveness for a college player. It’s hard to find many shooting guards more league ready due to his intangibles and his IQ.
Johnson possesses elite defensive ability, but the numbers don’t show it. His lack of steals and blocks are not troubling, but is one of the few things that can halt the Kentucky guard’s progression at the next level. If he can use his explosiveness to create two steals and a block per game, it could propel not only himself into a rhythm, but also his team.
His shooting is improving, but he can still be a bit timid when shooting the ball occasionally. His shooting on the catch must improve for him to undoubtedly see success at the next level. He has to become a more consistent shooter out of the P&R as well. Johnson has the ability to score from straight line drives to the cup as noted, however he still needs to become more crafty when moving east-to-west.
His explosion at times can be a gift and a curse; sometimes out of control, Johnson can pick up irresponsible fouls that could easily be avoided. His questionable foot-work when sizing up opponents negatively effects his shot and has to improve to help his set shot at the next level.
While his bulky body is reliable, with the wrong eating habits and lack of solid training he could tend to get out of shape a lot quicker then most players which will be another interesting thing to watch as Johnson develops.
I don’t believe there will be many teams outside of the top five that will not wonder if they should draft the explosive guard. He’s a lottery pick talent with his frame and given the fact that he is just 19. Johnson will have many potential suitors in June. I can really see him becoming a star in the NBA if he works on those weaknesses.
Although, Johnson has to become a more reliable shooter and a smarter driver to truly succeed, as we mentioned, he’s a very smart player. He’s going to put in the work as the season continues so that he makes sure that any team that passes on him will surely regret it in the 2019 NBA Draft.