This year’s NBA draft class is remarkably deep, and Arizona wing Stanley Johnson is not being shy about his talent. Per Bleacher Report’s Ethan J. Skolnick, Johnson has called himself the best player in the draft.
Well, that’s quite a grand statement is it? Granted, confidence is key in the NBA, but for someone who only turns 19 in a couple of weeks and hasn’t yet played a minute in the league seems a bit brash. Johnson certainly is one of the most talented players in this year’s class, but to label him the best player in the draft just because he says so is severely jumping the gun.
One week ago, I posted my first NBA Draft Big Board and ranked Johnson at No. 6. He has great athleticism at 6’7″, 245 pounds and posted 13.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals while shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 37 percent from long range.
However, let’s not forget that Johnson’s success last season was largely the product of playing in Arizona coach Sean Miller’s fast-paced offense, and his shooting percentage isn’t exactly idea for a system like that. NBAdraft.net has him going No. 8 to the Detroit Pistons in its latest mock draft with Duke small forward Justise Winslow and international winger Mario Hezonja going ahead of him. On DraftExpress, the latest mock draft has him going ninth overall to the Charlotte Hornets.
That all being said, the question presents itself: is Stanley Johnson the best player in the draft? Well, if you ask this writer, the answer is no. I’ll admit that he’s probably the best ATHLETE at his position but if I’m a GM and my team needs someone at the 3, I’d sooner take a more versatile player like Winslow.
That isn’t to say that Johnson’s NBA future isn’t bright. He is an excellent defender who can become a solid scoring threat in time, a la Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs. However, for him to say that he’s the best player in the draft when he’s in the same class as Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor and Emmanuel Mudiay is a bit of a stretch.
He isn’t the best player in the draft, but he’s certainly in the Top 10.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports