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Keshad Johnson 2024 NBA Draft Profile

Keshad Johnson NBA
Keshad Johnson made some big improvements in his only season with Arizona. What does his NBA Draft profile look like? (Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports)

Keshad Johnson 2024 NBA Draft Profile

We are less than one week away from the 2024 NBA Draft. Today, we are continuing our draft profile series with hyperathletic forward Keshad Johnson. Without further ado, let’s dive into it!

Height: 6’6.25″ (6’10.25″ wingspan, 8’7.00″ standing reach)

Weight: 224 lbs

Draft Age: 23

Position: Wing

Johnson, a graduate of San Leandro High School in San Leandro, Calif., was a top-70 prospect in the 2019 recruiting class. He was a top-40 recruit in the state, which included Onyeka Okongwu, Cassius Stanley, Christian Koloko and Jaime Jaquez, according to 247sports.

Johnson chose San Diego State–where he spent his four collegiate seasons–over offers from Cincinnati, Georgetown, DePaul, Washington State, Nevada and New Mexico, among others.

Johnson was a quality role player under Brian Dutcher at SDSU, averaging 5.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in 18.2 minutes on 56.1 percent true shooting during his Aztec career. He possessed the athletic and physical tools, but he didn’t truly put it all together before transferring to Arizona.

Johnson helped buoy Arizona to the Sweet 16, where it finished the 2023-24 season 27-9. He started in all 36 games, averaging 11.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and one steal on 53.0 percent shooting and 61.6 percent true shooting, a career-high.

Let’s dive into some of his strengths and weaknesses, shall we?

Strengths:

Johnson is a very springy player; he sported a 31.5-inch standing vertical and a 42-inch max vertical, which was an NBA Combine best. He didn’t test quite well–relative to other forwards–in the agility drills, but that didn’t translate to the film.

Johnson was an exceptional defender, which dates back to the start of his San Diego State career. He was strong enough to guard up, but is also quick (and long) enough laterally to hold his own against smaller wings and bigger guards in space.

He was very good at staying in front on-ball while maintaining a strong base to prevent being moved off his spots. He wasn’t exactly the player many wanted to take on one-on-one because of his length, strength and motor. For his size, Johnson was very good at defending the pick and roll on-ball, featuring good positioning, screen navigation and quality dexterity.

Johnson was also a good off-ball defender–with the length and instincts to cover plenty of ground in a short amount of time. There were times when it felt like he was in three different places at once defensively, doing all the dirty work and whatever else he was asked to do.

Offensively, the 6-foot-7 wing didn’t have the ball in his hands often alongside Kyland Boswell, Caleb Love and Pelle Larsson. But Johnson made himself useful as a screener and cutter, benefitting from better spacing than at SDSU. He had good timing with his cuts into open space–a lost art in today’s NBA.

He was a reliable dump-off outlet in the dunker spot or shot corner. Plus, Johnson was a quality offensive rebounder, where he corralled eight percent of his team’s misses over his final two seasons.

The soon-to-be 23-year-old was also one of Arizona’s best players at running the floor. In the halfcourt, he showed he was also a far more comfortable jump shooter, knocking down 38.7 percent of his 2.6 3-point attempts per game.

Weaknesses:

Johnson was not good with the ball in his hands throughout the majority of his collegiate career. He’s not a player you would trust to make multiple dribbles (in traffic) all that often, nor would be someone you’d rely on to create offense, which limits his upside.

That’s not to say there wasn’t improvement, because there was. But it’s still not something I’d immediately bank on if I’m a team drafting him.

The same applies to his jump-shooting; at SDSU, he shot just 24.6 percent from 3-point range and 37 percent on non-rim 2s. His touch and form improved. Though you’d be banking on a player with four poor shooting seasons and one good one to fit the latter, which isn’t always a guarantee.

Projection: Late Second Round Pick

Keshad Johnson wasn’t always a player that popped off the page in the box score, but he did the little things that mattered on the court. He had some clear deficiencies offensively, which may limit his role in the NBA, but the one guarantee with him is that he’ll defend his you-know-what off.

He’s got all the athletic and physical tools. If he can continue improving offensively, in a proper context with NBA spacing, he could definitely impact a rotation.

***

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