Every year the NBA conducts a survey amongst its rookies, asking them various questions about their draft class. Mixed in with standard queries on "most likely to win rookie of the year" and "best career" are more intriguing questions such as "funniest rookie" and "biggest steal". While players aren't always the best judges of talent (or predictors of NBA success), receiving inside takes on how they really view their fellow rookies is interesting for fans. The Los Angeles Clippers have two rookies this year (not counting the stashed 2nd rounder David Michineau), and one of them particular is admired by his peers.
The Clips 1st round draft pick, Brice Johnson, was voted "most athletic" by 16% of his class, putting him in 2nd place behind Jaylen Brown of the Celtics, with 39%. This athleticism is very clear upon just a few minutes of tape watching. Brice can soar through the air for dunks, swat opponents' shots across the floor, and leap for rebounds. While jumping ability is the most obvious athletic trait, Johnson is also pretty quick for a big man, and his athleticism is well-rounded.
Brice also received votes (probably only one or two) for: biggest steal, best shooter, and best defender. This is fascinating. While Brice can certainly shoot midrange jumpers with the best of them, he didn't exactly light up the scoreboards from deep in college, and doesn't promise to be a long range threat in the NBA, at least not right away. It is promising that at least a couple of rookies thought he was the best shooter in the class, especially alongside bombers such as Jamal Murray and Buddy Hield. Biggest steal and best defender make more sense. Brice's athleticism enables spectacular blocks, which are a visually engaging aspect of defense, and help to cover up his sometimes errant rim protection and perimeter defense. His big time plays and college stats seem to indicate future success, and while 25 is right around where he was projected to be drafted, there are certainly people who thought that was too low.
The area where the new Clippers really shine, however, is with their humor. Diamond Stone tied for 2nd in the "funniest rookie" category, and Brice tied for 4th. The rooks will join an already humorous team starring Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, two of the funniest athletes in the NBA. Humor is always appreciated on the bench and in the locker room, and hopefully both guys will be able to make teammates and reporters laugh for years to come.