Not even a week ago, Keldon Johnson announced that he planned to declare for the NBA Draft. Many tried to analyze his word choice about his “hope to be a lottery pick” and made it sound like that was a hard cutoff for him to stay in the draft. Then when several mock drafts had him projected around No. 20, some in BBN started getting excited.
Not so fast.
According to Drew Franklin at KSR, Johnson’s early feedback has been very positive, so much that the chances of him returning to UK “are slimmer than slim to none.”
That is not surprising since Johnson has been projected as a lottery pick since before he stepped on the court with the Kentucky Wildcats. But it may catch some by surprise if he announces his intent to stay in the draft soon, which Franklin believes is likely.
Johnson averaged 13.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game during his freshman campaign at Kentucky, shooting over 38% from behind the three-point line. Considering his outside shooting was one of his only perceived flaws coming into the season, you would have to think he still has a shot at being selected early in the draft.
Some were disappointed with Johnson’s lack of assertiveness on the offensive end for Kentucky. However, it can be tough to tell how much of that is the player and how much of that is the coaching scheme. Johnson scored 20 or more points seven times this season, showing that he has the chops to take over a game. But whether by design or just because he was not aggressive enough, that effort was not present in every game.
Johnson has a good frame at 6-6, he is athletic and has a naturally assertive attitude. He plays tough defense, can finish around the rim, and his outside shot is really coming along. There was virtually no chance he was playing a second year of college basketball with that skill set. And if Franklin is correct, Johnson may confirm that sooner rather than later.
Check out the entire post on KSR here.