The Toronto Raptors have signed 23-year-old forward Stanley Johnson to a two-year contract. What does he bring to the table?
After losing Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Toronto Raptors have rebounded stronger than ever! They have reportedly agreed to a two-year $7.5 million deal with Stanley Johnson, a 23-year-old athletic combo-forward.
Things haven’t exactly gone according to plan for Stanley Johnson so far in his career. As the 8th overall pick of the 2015 NBA draft, Johnson had high expectations. He was big, athletic, and had a solid skill-set. The Pistons hoped they were getting the NBA’s next two-way star.
But Johnson hasn’t been that. Defensively, he’s come as advertised, consistently making an impact, particularly as an on-ball defender. The other end, however, has proved to be more of a struggle. Johnson’s inability to play even replacement-level offense has torpedoed his career thus far.
Last trade deadline, Stanley Johnson was traded to the Pelicans for what was essentially Thon Maker. This offseason, he wasn’t even tendered a qualifying offer. Johnson’s on one of the last legs of his NBA career. The Raptors are hoping they can help coach up the clearly talented prospect.
At 6-foot-6.5 with a 6-foot-11.5 wingspan and 235 lbs, Johnson is large enough to play either forward position. In both height and wingspan, he’s just similar but shy of OG Anunoby. Also similar to Anunoby, he’s built like a brick outhouse.
With stops in Detroit and New Orleans, Johnson hasn’t been in a particularly good basketball environment to this point in his career. Toronto is hoping that being surrounded by better supporting talent and a more well-run organization will help him tap into his natural skill-set. If not, it’s $7.5 million, a low-risk, high-upside move.
For Johnson to be succesful the Raptors will need to help him improve his offensive game, allow him to be unleashed defensively, and find a role that fits. So what does he bring on the offensive side of the ball?