The 2016 NBA Draft will take place on Thursday June 23rd with the Houston Rockets selecting 37th and 43rd. While the Rockets are without a first round pick given GM Daryl Morey’s tendency to orchestrate trades it would be unwise to count him out of making a deal to move up. With that Space City Scoop is featuring a Draft Prospect Series covering 60 of the top ranked prospects. Next up is North Carolina Power Forward Brice Johnson.
Brice Johnson is an extremely athletic forward who has seen his stock rising as the draft draws near:
- Height: 6’9″
- Weight: 209 lbs
- Country: United States, Cordova, South Carolina
- Position: Small or Power Forward
- Age: 21.9
- Reach: 8’10.5″
- Wingspan: 7′.025″
- College or Pro League: North Carolina, Senior
- Stat line: 40 Games, 17.0 Points Per Game, 10.5 Rebounds Per Game, 1.5 Assists Per Game
ESPN Chad Ford: 37 (from top 100 ranking, may get updated though Johnson is not in his top 30)
Draft Express: 31
NBA Scott Howard Cooper: 29
Bleacher Report: 23
Johnson’s athleticism and explosiveness are his best assets. He is capable of creating his own shot and due to his foot speed, leaping ability and quick moves he is adept in the paint. Though he’s added size he’ll need to continue to bulk up to be effective at the pro level.
His pluses will work well in a transition game specifically or with a strong guard who can work in concert with him to utilize his speed and finishing ability.
His leaping ability and instinct for the ball also produced double digit rebounding this past season. In fact he is equally adept at jumping off either foot or both and has a quick second jump. when you combine his leaping ability, high percentage of finishing at the rim and his quick second jump it equals strong offensive rebounding.
His foot speed also could translate to the defensive end where his lateral quickness would allow him the ability to stay in front of opponents. Though he’s yet to demonstrate consistency in that regard if he commits to improving defensively the skill set is there.
Though Johnson was a high end scoring his shot doesn’t extend past the mid-range which means he’ll need to add that to his arsenal to add versatility and make him more difficult to guard.
As mentioned Johnson hasn’t shown consistency or desire defensively, but the tools are in the box for him to improve. Ultimately it will require a coach who can get him to focus on the defensive end and use his athleticism with wise decisions as opposed to his raw talent.
Until he adds size he’ll have issues at the rim since he doesn’t absorb contact well which will be his greatest issues upon reaching the pros.
Honors and Awards:
As per Wikipedia:
- Consensus first-team All-American (2016)
- First-team All-ACC (2016)
- Third-team All-ACC (2015)
- First-team Parade All-American (2012)
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With Michael Beasley signed through next season it’s unlikely the Rockets will be looking for a power forward who doesn’t have range. Factor in Donatas Motiejunas will likely be the player the Rockets look to extend assuming teams don’t price him out of the Rockets salary range.
Additionally it’s unlikely Johnson will be available by the time the Rockets pick and he’s not a player they would look to trade up for given his fit wouldn’t be within Houston’s penchant for three point shooters.
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