The LA Clippers started their preparations for the upcoming 2021-22 in earnest on Thursday, when they selected Keon Johnson out of Tennessee with the No. 21 selection in the 2021 NBA Draft.
The Clippers were originally supposed to select at No. 25, but they engineered a trade with the New York Knicks, trading No. 25 and a 2024 2nd-round selection (from their trade to acquire Luke Kennard last year) for the No. 21 slot.
Johnson, 19, played for a year with the Volunteers, hailing from Tennessee. A shooting guard, he’s got decent height at 6’5. He’s noted for his athleticism, an ability to drive to the rim (something the Clippers have needed at times) and an ability to play through contact. In addition, his defense was seen as one of his biggest strengths in college.
Johnson broke the vertical leap record at the NBA Combine, jumping for an eye-popping 48 inches.
.@Vol_Hoops freshman Keon Johnson sets new draft combine record with 48.0 inch vertical leap! #PhantomCam— NBA Draft (@NBADraft) June 24, 2021
Microsoft Surface NBA Draft Combine coverage: 3:00pm/et Thursday on ESPN2! pic.twitter.com/q6WqyWkOHL
One expects Johnson will be excited about his selection to the Clippers, considering he says he models his game after team superstar Kawhi Leonard.
"I model my game after Kawhi Leonard." - Keon Johnson (@iamkeonjohnson)— NBA Draft (@NBADraft) July 29, 2021
2021 #NBADraft presented by State Farm: TONIGHT at 8 PM ET on ABC / ESPN pic.twitter.com/9VJquFxx1o
All in all, the initial press on Johnson is that he’s a guy worth moving up to select, and we’ll see what he can bring to the Clippers.