The 2021 NBA draft will take place Thursday, July 29 with the Detroit Pistons holding the No. 1 pick. The Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic round out the top five selections.
We take a look at some of the prospects available in this draft, gauge their strengths, weaknesses, NBA comparisons and best landing spot within the player’s projected draft range. Here’s a breakdown for Duke forward Jalen Johnson.
Johnson is strong attacking the basket in general. He’s more of a scorer, but can find secondary options well while driving. He’s an athletic playmaker who could thrive with the right development team. Johnson is also a good rebounder for the position.
The biggest questions marks surrounding Johnson are his commitment and his jump shot. He only took 18 threes at Duke and shot well, but the sample size isn’t very helpful. Johnson left IMG Academy during his senior year of high school and bounced from Duke after 13 games. That is not a great look for someone considered to be a lottery talent.
If Johnson’s shot is real, he compares favorably to P.J. Washington. Both had similar games in college and Washington has been solid with the Charlotte Hornets as a rookie. Johnson could land into a similar role.
Best Landing Spot
The Duke forward is projected to be a late lottery pick, meaning the San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers and Golden State Warriors will all be interested. The Spurs and Pacers have a strong development history, especially with small forwards. Both places would be good spots for Johnson to start his NBA career. The big question will be how teams view him leaving IMG and Duke.