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Jalen Johnson’s ‘incomplete’ resume will be a concern for NBA teams in 2021 draft


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With Jalen Johnson’s time in school basketball completed, his efficiency with the Duke Blue Devils is being evaluated by NBA personnel executives, scouts, draft analysts and lots of in the media paid to speak in regards to the sport.

And that is how at the very least one main front-office determine grades Johnson’s efficiency: “Incomplete.”

This appears an apparent conclusion, as a result of Duke nonetheless has six scheduled video games plus the ACC Tournament on its schedule, and Johnson selected to go away the crew anyway. But it’s additionally an impactful label. There are so many peripherally concerned in the game who try to euphemize Johnson’s resolution, or to vogue it as the subsequent logical step in his progress towards taking part in professionally.

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At least a few of these whose literal job it’s to resolve who deserves an NBA roster place and who doesn’t consider that departing a crew at this stage of the season is, to say the least, unimpressive.

Scouts are conscious that Johnson transferred to IMG Academy in Florida from Nicolet High in Glendale, Wis., after his junior season, then left IMG roughly a month into the season.

“This is not the first time he’s had an issue with a team, so that’s the bigger concern,” an NBA personnel govt informed Sporting News. “This guy has created/made/whatever issues at his last two stops. If that doesn’t give you pause, I don’t know what will.

“Jalen Johnson is trying out for a job, and this would be the equivalent of just listing your references but you have no real resume.”

A yr in the past, five-star level guard Cole Anthony joined a North Carolina Tar Heels squad that had some promising younger huge males however largely was missing in perimeter scorers, save for himself. He performed in 9 video games, of which Carolina received six, and averaged 19.1 factors and three.6 assists. Then he tore the meniscus in his proper knee and missed 11 video games, throughout which era the Tar Heels fell to 8-10.

Given Anthony’s damage and the situation of the Tar Heels, the potential for him “shutting it down” and making ready for the draft turned an object of appreciable hypothesis. Anthony by no means indicated that was in his plans, and he finally returned and completed the season, providing such performances as a 24-point, 11-rebound effort towards Duke, and a 28-point, seven-assist sport towards Duke.


“He had a significant injury, but his year would have been incomplete if that was all he had to go on. But he came back and played after his injury,” the NBA personnel govt mentioned. “Whether you like Cole Anthony’s game or not, you can’t dispute the desire to play and leave a positive impression.

“Juxtapose that next to Jalen Johnson’s approach, and you be the judge.”

Johnson performed in 13 video games and began eight for the Blue Devils, averaging 11.2 factors and 6.1 rebounds per sport. He missed three video games with a foot damage however, after his return, produced a 24-point, 16-rebound, four-block masterpiece that was spoiled by a loss to Pitt. Recently he had seen his minutes drastically decline, down to only eight in Saturday’s victory over N.C. State.

After the sport, Krzyzewski informed reporters that Johnson was having issue with the physicality of faculty hoops. 

“We had him in a couple of times, and he was knocked back,” Krzyzewski mentioned. 

Freshman middle Mark Williams bought a lot of the minutes which may have been Johnson’s and he contributed 13 factors and 5 blocks. Three days earlier than Johnson departed, Krzyzewski nonetheless was expressing confidence that there would be different alternatives for Johnson to excel.

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NBA draft analyst Matthew Maurer does not have Johnson listed on his two-round mock draft. And that was earlier than “so much damage has been done reputation-wise,” in Maurer’s phrases, by Johnson’s selection to go away the Duke crew.

The Blue Devils are solely 8-8 general and in eighth place in the ACC, removed from their customary requirements. Maurer contends that their persistent struggles created monumental alternative for Johnson.


“What more invitation did you need to go into Duke and dominate?” Maurer mentioned. “It was all there for you to take over. You just didn’t.”

The NBA govt defined that Johnson “looks like a lot of these young guys who are looking for how they should play, what they think they need to do to get drafted. It doesn’t always line up with what his role is.”

A yr in the past, James Wiseman performed three video games for the Memphis Tigers, acquired an 11-game NCAA suspension over amateurism points, then selected towards the top of that penalty to not return to school basketball. He was taken second general in the 2020 NBA Draft.

However: Wiseman is 7-1, 245 kilos and is a unprecedented athlete for his measurement; when he did play, Wiseman excelled for the Tigers — and he had a longtime fame as a highschool participant from his two years at East High in Memphis.

Johnson has none of this going for him.

“You’ve got to watch every step you take now,” Maurer mentioned, “because every step is measured.”



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