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Keldon Johnson to test the waters… What will he find?

Freshman guard Keldon Johnson made it officially (unofficial) Wednesday: he will put his name in the draft, but he’ll leave the door open in case he doesn’t get the positive reassurance he’s hoping for throughout this process. That’s pretty standard these days, especially since college players can now hire an agent to go through the NBA Draft process without forfeiting their eligibility.

Basically, Keldon Johnson is testing the waters. What will he find? Of course, NBA Mock Drafts are everywhere during this time of the year, but truth be told, no one really knows what’s going to happen until draft night on June 20, 2019. Johnson – and players who decide to make similar choices in terms of “leaving the door open” – will have until the May 29 deadline to officially keep his name in the Draft or decide to return to college for another year. That’s ten whole days after the NBA Combine, meaning he’ll have plenty of time to get feedback from a plethora of coaches and other experts.

Like I said, these selections are essentially estimated guesses, but they do come from some of the “top-guessers” of NBA Drafts. Keep in mind, some outlets strategize their ordering based on which team needs what in terms of skill sets, while others simply rank the Draft’s participants. Anyway, here’s what some of the top outlets have to say about Johnson’s potential Draft outcomes.

CBS SPORTS (Kyle Boone and Gary Parrish, unanimous)

No. 12 – Minnesota Timberwolves


No. 15 – Detroit Pistons


No. 17 – Orlando Magic


No. 18 – Boston Celtics


No. 19 – San Antonio Spurs


No. 20 – San Antonio Spurs

CBS Sports gives Johnson his best-case scenario, while ESPN gives him the lowest ranking on the list. When averaged together, these outlets have Johnson coming out as a 16.8 seed. Some outlets explained their rankings:

Bleacher Report recognized Johnson’s appeal “began fading over the final months of the season when he was making fewer threes – and plays in general – within the half court.” On the other hand, they also note his 6’6″ size, strength and athleticism “provides plenty to like with his driving and slashing, advanced runner game, defensive potential and shot-making accuracy.”

Similarly, Sport Illustrated says he “comes with some limitations,” but makes up for those with his intangibles: “competitive drive, offensive skill package and positional value.” SI, which has PJ Washington at No. 11 and Tyler Herro at No. 16, notes it’s possible Johnson falls a bit behind his teammates on Draft night, but emphasizes he “certainly won’t have to be a star to justify being selected in this range.”

On the other hand, CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish writes Johnson should be the first Wildcat selected in the draft, calling him a “good-enough athlete… shooting nearly 40 percent from 3-point range on three attempts per game.” Parrish also says Johnson was one of the main factors behind Kentucky’s transformation from a 34-point loss to Duke to the Elite Eight, but he acknowledged Johnson’s “production has decreased a bit as the season progressed.” Still, he considers Johnson “worthy of being selected in the lottery of this draft that drops off considerably somewhere inside the top 10.”


Article written by Maggie Davis

I love sports, podcasts, long walks on the beach and Twitter (@MaggieDavisKSR)

9 Comments for Keldon Johnson to test the waters… What will he find?

  1. nocode96
    9:41 pm April 10, 2019 Permalink

    I still think he goes if he’s a guaranteed a top 20 pick, maybe even lower than that. However, this year I feel something I haven’t in the past as a UK fan, and that’s hope even the first rounders come back to get better. Why? P.J. mf Washington.

    • kevinhale423
      9:55 pm April 10, 2019 Permalink

      PJ wasn’t a potential first rounder last year. That’s what he came back. Guaranteed money tends to life changer.

    • nocode96
      10:43 pm April 10, 2019 Permalink

      Very true, I just think the money P.J. made himself by coming back is a factor to our guys moving forward. This isn’t the same as the twins coming back, they might’ve actually lost stock. Do I think it’s a deciding factor for KJ? No way. Do I expect him to leave? Yes. Do I blame him for leaving g to chase his dream. No way! I just think it P.J. set an example that players can look to now. We haven’t really had that before. Add in the Archie Godwin’s of the world for guys like Keldon to look at as well, and it just MAY be enough to bring a guy or two back.

  2. sp
    9:47 pm April 10, 2019 Permalink

    Bottom line is that if you arent drafted in the top 15 or so you are going to a team that made the playoffs or was really close so they aren’t in immediate for much of anything and they are picking for the future. Meaning D league players. I think Cal and the UK staff can do just as good a job if not better than D league staffs preparing these guys for the league and move them up the draft boards to teams that actually need better players.

  3. WatchutalkinboutWillis
    9:55 pm April 10, 2019 Permalink

    If he goes to the Spurs he will get developed…higher is not always better. He needs to look at James Young’s career and ask himself if he would be happy with that….if not he should return to school and get better.

  4. J. Did
    10:18 pm April 10, 2019 Permalink

    He can test the waters all he wants.

    But he needs to realize: He did not walk on water.

    Until he is remotely close, Keldon needs to reevaluate his return to earth.

    Formulate a program to IMPROVE – consistently and immensely.

    Glad Hagans didn’t let too much go to his head; his decision was quick.

    • nocode96
      10:46 pm April 10, 2019 Permalink

      Meh, I don’t really agree with how you’re trying to make him look. He’s probably a sure fire top 20 pick, maybe even lottery. That’s guaranteed millions just to play a sport that he is no doubt better at than 99% of earth’s population. You’re making him seem like an arrogant, self centered d-bag who thinks too highly of himself, and there’s ZERO evidence in his demeanor, interviews, or whatever that he’s ever been like that.

  5. zoupman
    10:53 pm April 10, 2019 Permalink

    Didn’t see anything with his play this year that screams first round. Simply disappeared to often. Not ready.

  6. FartsInGayBars
    7:48 am April 11, 2019 Permalink

    Did ANYONE get their shot blocked more in college basketball this year than KJ?

    I’ll hang up and listen.