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The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...
2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Keldon Johnson
Age: 19 (turns 21 in October)
Max vertical: N/A
2018/19 stats: 13.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.6 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.2 bpg, 46.1 FG% (4.6/10.1), 38.1 3PT% (1.2/3.2), 70.3 FT%
Player comparison: Gary Harris, Jerome Robinson
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 19th, NBADraft.net 15th, Bleacher Report 8th, Sports Illustrated 23rd, Ringer 21st
5 things to know:
*Johnson is considered the best NBA prospect in this year's class from the University of Kentucky. Though the Wildcats usually churn out top-10 picks, he is projected to go somewhere in the back end of the lottery or in the 20s. His teammates Tyler Herro and P.J. Washington are expected to go late in the first round.
*Johnson is an athletic, slashing wing who is quick up and down the floor. His highlights are filled with fastbreak dunks and agile plays around the basket. Johnson, though, didn't participate in the vertical leap measurement at the combine, so there is some mystery there.
*He has a solid outside shot. Johnson made 38.2 percent of his threes on 3.2 attempts per game, which is impressive especially for a freshman. He appears to have smooth mechanics on his jumper and a quick release. Johnson, though, like most young players has to develop his ability to shoot off the dribble.
*Johnson plays with a lot of passion and is known for wearing his emotions on his sleeve. He brings tons of energy to both ends of the floor and that is a good sign for his potential at the next level.
*Johnson has a few local connections. He is from Chesterfield, VA, just south of Richmond. He went to high school at Oak Hill Academy in southwestern Virginia. His brother, Kaleb, plays basketball for Georgetown University. And his other brother, Kyle, played at Old Dominion.
Fit with Wizards: Johnson happens to play the one position the Wizards have solidified, at least in their starting lineup with Bradley Beal. However, they could use more guard depth in general and Beal needs some help behind him.
The Wizards thought they had solved that with Austin Rivers this past season and that didn't work out. The result was Beal leading the NBA in minutes played in the second straight year he appeared in all 82 games.
Iron Man streaks are great, but not ideal for a guy who has a history of leg injuries and a long career ahead of him. Johnson is the type of player who could take some pressure off of Beal and possibly play with him at the three-spot. He would also add shooting, which the Wizards need.
The question would be if he is good enough to pick ninth overall and if that need is enough to justify at that spot. The answer is probably not, but Johnson seems like a guy who could soar up draft boards once workouts begin.
Best highlight video:
MORE WIZARDS NEWS:
Bradley Beal missed out on an All-NBA selection, and therefore, qualification for a supermax contract. Voting tallies show he received the most votes among guards that missed the cut.
That's small consolation for the only player to average 25 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists this year, but still not make the All-NBA team.
Here's a look at just how close Beal came to Kemba Walker, the last guard to sneak in.
The All-NBA teams and the other players receiving votes. Bradley Beal (34 votes) was just edged out by Kemba Walker (51 votes). pic.twitter.com/ME3BCh1X2M— Michael Sykes, II (@MikeDSykes) May 23, 2019
Walker (51 points) beat out Beal (34 points) more narrowly than at any other position. Klay Thompson received 27 points.
It's rare air to be ranked so closely with guards like Walker and three-time champion Thompson.
Still, that hardly makes up for the earning potential the Wizards star missed out on this summer.
Damian Lillard, who was drafted in the same year as Beal, made second team All-NBA and qualified for a $191 million supermax contract from the Trail Blazers.
That's a big-money difference for a very close voting tally.
On the flip side, that could mean the Wizards can afford to hang onto Beal. They would have had a difficult time offering him a supermax contract given their current salary cap situation.
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