Just under a month before the players report to Salt Lake City for training camp, Utah welcomed two new players.
In a trade that sent Pat Beverley (acquired from Minnesota in the Rudy Gobert trade) to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Jazz have now added Stanley Johnson and Talen Horton-Tucker to their roster.
Here are five things to know about stingy wing defender, Johnson.
1.) High School All-American
In 2014, Johnson was widely considered one of the best basketball players in the country. Blessed with great height, strength, and unreal athleticism, he was rated a 5-star prospect by several outlets at the legendary Mater Dei High School.
He scored 2,285 career points at Mater Dei, the third highest mark in school history.
As a senior, he played in the McDonald’s All-American Boys Game, Jordan Brand Classic and the Nike Hoop Summit. He was also named a first-team All-American by multiple outlets and selected as California’s Mr. Basketball, awarded annually to the top basketball player in the state.
2.) Success as a Wildcat
Always considered a one-time prospect, Johnson did not disappoint in his only season with Arizona.
Averaging 13.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.5 steals per game, he was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team while earning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
Starting alongside future pros TJ McConnell (Indiana Pacers) and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Johnson helped lead the Wildcats to the Elite Eight as the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. His blend of athleticism and defensive prowess proved ideal at the college level and showed why he was such a top NBA prospect.
3.) Old Lottery Pick
It’s no surprise that Johnson turned all of his early successes into a lottery pick, being picked by the Detroit Pistons with the No. 8 pick in 2015.
He had a successful rookie season, coming off the bench averaging 8.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. He took a step forward in his third year, becoming a starter for the Pistons after hitting a career-high 8.7 points and 1.4 steals while adding 3.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists. .
Johnson was then traded to New Orleans midway through his 2018-19 season before bouncing back with the Toronto Raptors and Lakers in subsequent years.
4.) Re-emergence last season
After signing three consecutive 10-day contracts with the Lakers last season, Johnson once again proved himself as an athletic wing by signing a two-year deal with Los Angeles.
He earned praise throughout last season for his ability to defend multiple positions, ready to do the dirty work for the Lakers.
At 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, his strength allows him to defend powerful forwards in smaller lineups. However, his athleticism is arguably his greatest strength, allowing him to defend the guards.
5.) Offensive Potential
With Los Angeles out of the playoffs and LeBron James and Anthony Davis injured, it’s allowed some of the Lakers’ younger players to see more time on the court – one of them being Johnson.
He responded by having one of the best offensive performances of his career.
In the final 12 games of the year, he scored in double figures in six of them, including a season-high 21 points and eight rebounds against Oklahoma City.