Prior to the NBA Draft Lottery, Keon Johnson seemed like the kind of prospect the Toronto Raptors would be eyeing in the draft.
He’s a 6-foot-5 guard who broke the NBA combine record for vertical jump and has all the raw skills to be a difference-maker at the highest level. His college tape doesn’t warrant a top-four pick, but he was certainly in the mix for Toronto had the Raptors selected seventh or moved down in the lottery.
That being said, the Raptors are still keeping tabs on Tennessee’s freshman, having already interviewed him at the NBA combine and with a workout reportedly on the schedule, according to Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee.
“If he’s drafted in the top ten, it’s primarily off potential, and he’s unlikely to be an immediate high-level producer,” Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo wrote in his latest NBA Draft big board. “But if his shooting improves, his upside as a high-level complementary piece is tantalizing. The hope is he can tackle tough defensive assignments, slash to the rim, and knock down shots enough to keep people honest.”
The knock on Johson coming into the draft is his offensive arsenal. He ranks as an average offensive player in the half-court and his spot-up shooting and pick-and-roll handling were average to below-average, per Synergy. Those, however, are things he said he’s been working on over the past few months, trying to clean up his ball-handling and shooting.
“I feel like once I get those two more consistent and a lot tighter I’ll be a more complete offensive player,” he said during his draft interview.
The Raptors aren’t expected to draft Johnson at No. 4, but Toronto wants to be prepared for anything come July 29. What happens, for example, if Oklahoma State offers No. 6 and 16 to move up to No. 4, Orlando offers No. 5 and 8, or Golden State offers No. 7 and 14? Those are scenarios the Raptors want to be ready for even if it means working out some prospects they probably won’t end up drafting.