Draft Profile: Nick Johnson

With the NBA Draft Lottery behind us, we shift our focus directly to the June 26th NBA Draft. Over the next month we’ll look at some of the top prospects in the draft, along with players that the Magic either reportedly worked out, or interviewed at the NBA Draft Combine. This time we’re going to look at Arizona guard Nick Johnson, whom the team brought in for a workout following the Memorial Day weekend.  

Three years after enrolling at Arizona, high flying guard Nick Johnson is on his way to the NBA. Johnson, who was ranked 22nd in the ESPN Top 100 in 2011, saw his production climb in all three of his years as a Wildcat. Wowing people with his pogo stick legs and power on dunks, Johnson could be one of the most exciting players in this year’s draft.  

Points  Rebounds  Assists  TS%    3PT FG%  Usage %
2011-12  8.93.32.448.832.021.1
2012-1311.53.63.255.539.320.1
2013-1416.34.12.854.936.726.3

 

Johnson put up more than respectable numbers all three years, and did so in a highly efficient manner. He saw his role take a big jump from his sophomore to junior years and answered with both his most prolific and efficient offensive season. He’s got a solid three-point shot, which could help him crack an NBA rotation early on.

Measurables

Height w/ shoes  Weight  Wingspan  Standing Reach  Max Vert
6’3”1986’ 7.25”8’ 0.5”41.5

 

Strengths

  • Athleticism

Johnson can jump… Really high. Johnson was tied for third in max vertical jump at the combine, tying with UCLA’s Zach LaVine and Michigan’s Glenn Robinson III. He’s extremely dangerous on the fast break thanks to his great quickness and his ability to finish around the rim thanks to his leaping ability. He’s also got a great ability to use his athletic advantage on the defensive end, as is evident by his selection to the All-Pac-12 Defensive team this past season.

  • Offensive Upside

Nothing about Johnson’s offensive game really stands out, but he does a lot of things well. To go along with his strong finishing ability, Johnson was a reliable and efficient scorer. He’s a good spot up shooter, and fared well shooting from deep, knocking down 38.4 percent of this three-point opportunities in catch-and-shoot situations this season. Johnson does however have some limitations on the offensive end, but in the right role he could thrive.

Weaknesses

  • Size

While Johnson is able to use his elite length and athleticism to make up for his lack of size, it’s still a potentially glaring issue for the high flyer. His game is that of a shooting guard and his lack of size could pose big issues going forward, especially when he has to deal with the bigger more physical off guards in the league. With his size, he’s more fit to play the point guard spot, but lacks in the playmaking ability he would need to lead an offense at the NBA level. His athleticism is only going to be able to carry him so far.

  • Playmaking

Again, athleticism will only be able to take Johnson so far. While he’s lethal in the open court and solid in pick-and-roll situations, Johnson still has issues with his overall playmaking ability. He doesn’t have very developed point guard skills, and still relies heavily on his athleticism when he does try to create for himself and teammates. Last season, Johnson shot just 33.3 percent on pull-up jumpers, thanks in large part to his not so great play one-on-one. He’s got the potential to be a good secondary ball handler now, but will need to work on it more if he wants to find his spot for good in the league.

Conclusion

Johnson is a fireball waiting to be shot out of a cannon. His freakish athleticism makes him exciting to watch, but there’s still work to be done for the former Wildcat to turn him into a solid rotational player in the NBA. His limitations creating on offense could hurt him off the bat, but as time wears on and he continues to grow as a player, Johnson could be given a larger role running a team.

Much like James Michael McAdoo, whom the Magic have also shown interest in, Johnson is projected to be a second round selection. Johnson worked out with the team, so it’s clear he’s on their radar. Orlando could be a possible destination for Johnson, whether that be late in the draft, or grabbing him as an undrafted free agent. No matter where Johnson ends up, you’ll be seeing him on SportsCenter, Fox Sports Live, and any highlight show you may watch; you could even see him flying high in the NBA Dunk Contest.

 

Previous Profiles 

James Michael McAdoo