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Pacers' Draft Possibilities: JaJuan Johnson

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With the Draft Lottery complete, the Early Entry List set, and the NBA Draft fast approaching, it's time to examine more in depth some of the players who could be available for the Pacers. Over the next few weeks I'll be trying to put together as many profiles as possible. Instead of identifying players as specific targets for either Pacers' pick, I'm just going to cover a pool of players I think are possibilities. You'll find some players who the Pacers would likely have to trade up or down for. I've also expressed my opinion that the Pacers need to be focused on talent as much as fit so players at all five positions will be included.

These profiles are not intended to advocate for one player over another, just examine their strengths and weaknesses, and discuss in some detail what they have to offer. For each profile I provided Ten Important Statistics to guide the discussion. Today we'll be looking at:

JaJuan Johnson - PF/C - 6'10"  220 lbs. - Purdue University

Ten Important Stats - JaJuan Johnson





















Current DraftExpress Projection: Round 2, Pick #4


  • Has the ability to score in the post, although needs to add diversity to his moves
  • Solid jumpshooter, with range out to the college three-point line
  • Has made himself into a consistent free throw shooter
  • Good size and athleticism, has the quickness and foot speed to cover stretch fours and help on the pick and roll
  • Decent weak-side shot blocker


  • Really needs to add lower body strength, slight frame will hamper his interior effectiveness at both ends of the floor
  • He's a below average rebounder
  • Doesn't always play with agressiveness and intensity
  • Won't be a high usage offensive threat in the NBA, will need to figure out how to use his offensive skills in a complimentary role


Overall, Johnson's improving perimeter game and high release point on his finesse post moves should allow him to have a reasonable amount of success offensively at the next level playing for the right team, as long as they are willing to live with his deficiencies as a rebounder and post-defender.

His lack of strength and physical toughness looks to be his Achilles heel on both ends of the court, preventing him from being a legitimate post presence offensively and making him a liability as a defender and rebounder. These will likely be the main question marks he'll need to address moving forward, and could be the difference in whether he sticks in the NBA or not.

-Derek Bodner,
Hickory-High Comparables:

How he can help the Pacers:

The Pacers' offense needs a significant upgrade and Johnson is certainly a skilled offensive player. However, at this point in his career, his skill-set is very complimentary and duplicates some offensive weapons the Pacers already have. Down the road he may add the strength and bulk needed to play in the post, but at this point his offensive contributions would mostly come on perimeter jumpers or finishing on cuts and offensive rebounds; essentially what Tyler Hansbrough already does for the Pacers. Johnson also would provide very little in the rebounding and interior defense departments.

Still, he is a skilled player who has shown a steady pattern of growth. He seems like a player with the potential to help the Pacers a lot more in two or three years than he would next season. If they can get some more immediate help somewhere else in the draft, adding Johnson as a development project seems like a fine scenario.


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