06-03-2009, 11:18 AM
I have to admit that i dont watch college basketball, but from what ive read i am interested in this guy James Jonhson as a potential 13th pacer draft pick. I see he is 6'8" and weighs 257lbs. My question is............Is he a pf in the nba and how would he fit our pacers team as a pf?
06-03-2009, 11:49 AM
Here is what Jonathan Givony at DraftExpress.com has to say about him:
Although on paper it may appear that James Johnson (http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/James-Johnson-5053/) is having a similar season to his freshman campaign, when digging deeper into his performance, that initial impression couldn’t be any further from the truth.
The leading scorer on a bad team that went 17-13 last season, Johnson is now the #2 option on one of the best teams in college basketball. While his scoring rate is slightly down, Johnson’s field goal percentage has climbed from 48.7 to 54%, as he’s taking less 3-pointers and doing a much better job scoring inside the arc. His role is smaller this year but he’s contributing much more with his all-around game, doubling his assists while cutting down on his turnovers, and being far more solid on the defensive end. Considering the many different ways in which he helps his team, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call Johnson one of the most versatile players in the country these days.
Offensively, Johnson has shown flashes of a complete repertoire this season. His ball-handling skills look much improved, as you regularly see him grabbing rebounds and taking the ball smoothly coast to coast, and he’s become quite a lethal threat creating his own shot in the half-court as well. Johnson has very unique timing on his drives as discussed in the past (see prior reports), and he’s just as effective creating and finishing with his left hand as he is with his natural right—something that is pretty rare at the collegiate level at his size.
Johnson’s ability to face-up and attack his man off the dribble makes him a terrific mismatch threat on the perimeter, and watching him utilize his outstanding footwork and pivot moves in the post, it’s hard not to come away impressed with his scoring and overall basketball instincts. He has great hands and outstanding touch with either hand around the basket, sometimes flicking up pretty floaters around the rim, and looks very comfortable at times operating with his back to the basket as well.
Although his 3-point shot has not fallen at a very good rate (he’s just 17/57, or 30%), Johnson’s mid-range pull-up jumper has become a very effective weapon this season, particularly off one dribble after getting his defender in the air with a pump-fake. On the catch and shoot, despite showing nice mechanics, Johnson has often appeared rushed. He still needs to work on his range it appears, as well as his free throw shooting—where he hits just 70%.
While Johnson can score in a wide variety of ways, he is also a fairly solid passer as well. He sees the floor well and regularly makes heady passes right into the post for easy baskets, clearly possessing an advanced feel for the game. Johnson’s knack for making plays around the ball also extends to the offensive glass, where he is not quite as prolific as he was last season, but is still pretty adept.
Johnson’s biggest issue right now might be the lack of focus he shows at times—making some poor decisions at times with the ball, but also making costly fundamental mistakes as well. He tries to do too much from the perimeter on a few possessions every game, over-handling the ball, being somewhat turnover prone, and settling for bad shots. He isn’t as solid as you’d hope either, forgetting to box out his man in crucial moments, being late to rotate defensively, and generally being inconsistent from game to game and often possession to possession. Johnson seems like the kind of guy who needs special attention from the coaching staff to make sure they’re getting (and will get) 100% out of him at all times, although this could be something that improves with added maturity.
Defensively, Johnson is a mixed bag, but seems to be much improved from last season, partially due to his much improved physique. He puts a pretty solid effort in on this end of the floor, doing a good job trying to stay in front of his man on the perimeter, utilizing his height and length very effectively, and being especially impressive recovering into the paint after being beat—sometimes coming up with a rejection in the process. Johnson is a real stat-stuffer, getting plenty of blocks, steals and rebounds—a product of his increased activity level this season, as well as his natural timing and instincts—which are superb. You’ll still see him losing his focus on this end at times, for instance not fighting through a screen or getting caught flat-footed while a smaller player blows by him—his lateral quickness is average as mentioned in the past—but he seems to be getting better in this area, and should continue to improve as his career moves on.
All in all, Johnson is one of the more unique prospects in this draft—while not a prototypical small forward, he’s got more than enough tools to get by on the perimeter, and he can hurt the opposition quite a bit in his own right. It will be interesting to see where teams have Johnson rated on their board, as won’t fit in on quite any team, but should be able to carve out a solid niche. Having turned 22 just a few weeks ago—despite being a sophomore—the indications are that Johnson is likely to declare for this upcoming draft, particularly if he has a strong showing in the NCAA tournament.
It appears to me that he might be a so-so reserve SF at the NBA level
after lots of hard work and some experience under his belt.
I personally don't think he would be wise choice for our 13th pick.
06-03-2009, 12:04 PM
Johnson is intriguing. I wouldn't be upset if the Pacers picked him.
I see him being a pretty good reserve PF in the NBA. He's built very similarly to Brandon Bass and Paul Millsap, but he has better perimeter offensive skills than both players did coming out of college. The major difference is that those guys, especially Millsap, are high-motor guys who really like to mix it up physically.
Johnson's issues seem to be motivational. He's a high risk/reward type player. I wouldn't mind rolling the dice on him because I think we've got a very good locker room right now with hard-working, high-character players and a coach who demands, and receives, a great deal of effort. If Johnson can't come in to the NBA and be motivated by an environment like that, he's probably not going to make it anywhere.
06-03-2009, 12:34 PM
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I know this is a highlight video, but this is some pretty impressive stuff from a guy who's 6'8" and weighs almost 260. You don't get to know anything about his defense or motor, but you can tell he's very skilled offensively and a pretty good athlete.
06-03-2009, 06:25 PM
I see the Nets taking him.
06-03-2009, 09:21 PM
He looks like Granger when he runs. :eek:
06-04-2009, 09:59 AM
That video reminds me of Al Harrington.
06-04-2009, 10:10 AM
That video reminds me of Al Harrington.
There's a couple of passes in that video that Al would never make.
Also, James Johnson is apparently a big-time kickboxer. Take that for what it's worth, but I like it.
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