Summer League Recap: Keyontae Johnson has the juice

Keyontae Johnson #18 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Keyontae Johnson #18 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Keyontae Johnson was the 50th pick in this year’s draft and is currently on a two-way contract. He missed all of Salt Lake City Summer League with an injury but played all five Las Vegas Summer League games. He mainly came off the bench except for the last two games, and he averaged 23 minutes per contest, helping the Thunder to a 2-3 record.

Keyontae Johnson is a 6’5, 230-pound power wing who averaged 12.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game across five summer league games. He also shot 57 percent from the field, 27 percent on threes, and 60 percent on free throws.

The OKC Thunder might have found another second-round gem in Keyontae Johnson.

The three-point and free-throw percentages don’t look great, but he only took two three-pointers and three free throws per contest, so it was on a low volume. The three-point shot is real, as he made 40 percent of them his last year in college. Johnson was known as an excellent mid-range shooter who could make great cuts to the basket off-ball, and he displayed that in summer league. In the first game against the Mavericks, Johnson cut toward the rim on a Cason Wallace drive-to-the-basket, and Wallace gave him a beautiful lob for a dunk. During the game against the Rockets, where he had 19 points on 9-14 shooting, he displayed his ability to get downhill and power through people with his strong frame and showed off his beautiful touch in the midrange.

The good news for Keyontae is that he showed off in summer league are things he will be asked to do for the Thunder. He cut to the basket to get his easy bucket and took spot-up threes on the wings and corners. He didn’t make a significant percentage of his spot-up threes, but he did shoot well from there in college, and since it was such a small sample size, the percentage looks bad. The shot is real and will be around a 35 to 38 percent three-pointer for his career.

Another thing to remember was that he wasn’t playing with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, or Jalen Williams, so the gravity that those three players provide will give him more open looks on spot-up threes. Since he is such a good cutter, we know that Giddey will find when he does cut to the basket.

One issue that we saw in Summer League that was an issue in college was his defense. He is a good team defender, but he needs help whenever he has to defend a movement shooter or primarily on-ball. Keyontae won’t be asked to be a point-of-attack defender like Lu Dort, but he does need to get better at defending on-ball. He also struggled to get around screens and will have to “eat his broccoli” on that end of the floor.

Summer League Grade: B-

For being the 50th pick in the draft, Keyontae Johnson had a good summer league. We saw him play a lot, appearing in five total games. He needs to continue to work on his three-point shot, especially on spot-ups. He will have to get better at defending around screens and becoming a more stout on-ball defender. His development with the Oklahoma City Blue over the course of the year will be vital in determining if he gets converted to a standard contract, and the Thunder will give him every opportunity to do so.

Next. Did BR slight the OKC Thunder young core?. dark