OKC Thunder: Does Keyontae Johnson fit at Pick 50?

Keyontae Johnson #11 of the Kansas State Wildcats (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Keyontae Johnson #11 of the Kansas State Wildcats (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

Keyontae Johnson is a 23-year-old 6’6, 230-pound wing from Kansas State University who is a second-round prospect in the 2023 NBA Draft. Johnson averaged 17.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game, shooting 51.6% from the field and 40.5% from three per ESPN.com. He was First-team All-Big 12, Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, and AP Third-Team All-American. During the 2020 season, Johnson collapsed on the floor during a game while playing for the University of Florida. With his heart condition, Johnson was officially cleared by the NBA’s Fitness to Play panel on May 26, 2023, per Adrian Wojnarowski.

Keyontae Johnson is an excellent second-round option for the Thunder and has a high floor as a prospect. The most popular mocks from ESPN, the Athletic, Bleacher Report, the Ringer, and CBS Sports have him going in the 40-50 range. He is indeed a player that could be there for the Thunder, and he would fill the 3 or 4 positions that the Thunder need. He is an older prospect, but they also selected Aaron Wiggins as a 21-year-old, second-prospect in the 2021 Draft. Johnson also didn’t play for two years so he doesn’t have the normal wear and tear that a regular 23-year-old prospect would have.:

Johnson has a plus eight inches wingspan and showed off good athleticism while at Kansas State this year. He was the top scorer on a Kansas State team that went to the Elite 8, and they ran a lot of isolations for him. He has a good mid-range game, and at the rim. Johnson is one of the best cutters in the class whether it is a straight-line or a 45-degree cut, and he shot 45 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers according to Synergy. He is an average on-ball defender who with his stout frame won’t get pushed around and is a solid off-ball defender. He is very good in transition as a scorer and passer while providing highlight dunks.

One of the biggest issues he has is his decision-making in the half as he had a negative assist-to-turnover ratio. When he drove into the lane the ball got stripped too much or he would try to make a pass into a tight window and turn it over. He also would rely on his mid-range game instead of getting to the basket with his 230 pound frame. Defensively, he would get lost at times navigating screens or would lose his defender as the help man on drives.

I believe Keyontae Johnson fits this Thunder team as a 8th or 9th man who can make open threes, play solid team defense, and attack in transition. He showed flashes of good decision-making in college, but he just has to cut down on the turnovers. He was the main option in college and he won’t be asked to do that in the NBA. If the Thunder’s medical team clears him, getting somebody with first-round talent at pick #50 would be a home run.

Next. SGA is seen working out with a projected lottery pick ahead of the 2023 NBA Draft. dark