The Toronto Raptors were able to restock the cupboards in the 2021 NBA Draft by adding three promising players with potential on both ends of the court. After adding Florida State sensation Scottie Barnes No. 4 overall, the Raptors used two consecutive second-round picks on Nebraska’s Dalano Banton and Louisville’s David Johnson.
The Raptors were intrigued by the notion that Barnes can defend any position on the court, Banton’s ability to play on the perimeter despite his 6-9 frame, and Johnson improving his offensive game significantly during his second season with Louisville.
The Raptors drafted these players knowing that they are all nowhere close to being finished products on either side of the ball. Toronto must make sure that their development is handled properly, as their organizational motivation to get younger and more flexible depends on it.
Raptors fans should be charting the progress of these three rookies, watching their games intently in order to see if they have improved these three facets of their game. If they haven’t, Toronto could be in for some rough seas in the immediate future.
1 thing each 2021 draft pick must work on.
David Johnson: Turnovers
A 6-5 guard with the ability to defend well and get to the rim, Johnson averaged 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game during his final season under Chris Mack with the Cardinals. Unfortunately, Johnson didn’t come into the NBA as a perfect prospect, as his defensive intensity was compounded by a lack of playmaking ability.
Johnson averaged just 3.2 assists per game despite having the ball in his hands frequently, and he recorded more turnovers (61) than assists (60) last year. That isn’t going to change overnight, so the Raptors need to coach that penchant for turning the ball over out of him ASAP.
Toronto Raptors draft pick David Johnson can be too reckless on offense.
One of the reasons Johnson may struggle with that is his average athleticism, which forces rushed or errant passes after being unable to separate. With poor Summer League shooting splits, it appears that Johnson might be a bit rawer than Masai Ujiri anticipated when he selected him.
Johnson signed a two-way contract, meaning that he will likely spend a good chunk of his first year with Raptors 905 in the G League. The potential of what he could be is jaw-dropping, so the organization and front office should be keeping a very close eye on what he brings to the table.