With the 25th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Clippers select power forward Brice Johnson from the University of North Carolina. Johnson, who is about 6’10.5, is easily one of the better frontcourt athletes in this draft. One of the few college seniors in the first round, Johnson averaged 17 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in 36 games for the Tar Heels last season.
He’s a finisher at the rim in transition, off the lob and especially in cleanup duty as an offensive rebounder, but will likely have to continue adding a bit of size and strength in order to compete within the paint at this level. He’s a high-flyer on the defensive end, but is likely to block the bulk of his shots as a weakside defender in the early going.
He joins a talented frontcourt behind All NBA First Team center DeAndre Jordan and power forward Blake Griffin and should provide some much needed depth for Los Angeles’ big men. Johnson may lack the bulk of others at his position at this stage, but generally relies upon his excellent leaping ability to extend and score over the top of defenders in the post. While a supreme athlete, Johnson struggled to make jumpers outside of 12’ in his senior year at North Carolina. Per Draft Express, Johnson was successful on just 36 percent of the 44 total shots he took from beyond that mark last season for the Tar Heels.
Johnson can actually lean upon his new teammate in Griffin as an example of just how to transition from exclusively being a high-flying act in transition and as a roll-man of a pick-and-roll. Similar to Griffin, Johnson will need to extend his range and at least become more comfortable from the mid-range.
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