Stanley Johnson was one of the top recruits coming out of high school and chose to play his collegiate ball at Arizona University. The talented small forward was one of the new wave one and done players in college basketball. He had a very productive season at Arizona where he was named Pac-12 freshman of the year and earned a spot as a first team Pac-12 player. The 6’7” roughly forward averaged just under 14 points per game as a freshman. His great athleticism was on display during college to go along with a nice shooting stroke. The two abilities do not always go hand and hand with young players, but Johnson has it all. After playing one year at Arizona, Johnson declared for the draft and was selected 8th overall by the Detroit Pistons.
He wowed Pistons fans immediately as he became one of the main stars in the summer league. In under 30 minutes per game he averaged just over 16 points per game, upping his average from college. He had two 20 point games and shot the ball tremendously, putting up an overall percentage of 57 and shooting better than 40 percent from long range. He also rebounded the ball well for his position and showed a nice defensive game due to his athleticism. Johnson is about as good as an all-around player as they come and at age 19 he is sure to get even better. If there is one part of his game he could work on it would be getting his teammates involved more. While Johnson is certainly a good scorer it would benefit him to share the wealth a little more. Also, despite his nice shooting stroke, he shot just under 60% from the free throw line in the summer league. He did shoot better at Arizona but it is still a part of his game that could use a little work.
Graphic via mlive
Coming into Detroit, Johnson finds himself in a good position. While the Pistons have building blocks at the guard and center positions, there is a glaring hole at small forward. He will have to battle Marcus Morris and Ersan Ilyasova for the starting 3 spot, but really they are both better suited as stretch power forwards. Therefore, Johnson should battle for a starting spot in year one. He will be the most athletic and promising young small forward on the roster and would fit in well with Reggie Jackson, Andre Drummond and co. If Johnson does earn a starting spot he could be a dark horse candidate for rookie of the year. He has an NBA size frame at age 19 and should be able to contribute right off the bat. Detroit could be a perfect home for him for years to come.
Graphic via ncaa