No. 1: Keyontae Johnson, TCU
After collapsing on the court and facing the possibility of never playing again, the Keyontae Johnson story stands out as one of the best in sports over the past few decades. Putting aside the feel-good aspect, Johnson can just flat-out play.
Offensively, his scoring versatility allows him to excel in various roles. Johnson is excellent at attacking the rim and finishing through contact, thanks to his strength. When off the ball, his awareness is exceptional, enabling him to make explosive backdoor cuts for easy scoring opportunities. With the ball in his hands, Johnson effectively utilizes his size in the post to finish over or power through defenders.
Keyontae Johnson also has a reliable jump shot, evidenced by his 45% three-point shooting on catch-and-shoot opportunities. He seemed to make every open look and will serve as a legitimate floor-spacer in the NBA. While he may not be the complete, dominant sharpshooter like others on this list, he is projected to be a highly effective shooter at the NBA level. The only question marks regarding his offensive game lie in his playmaking ability and his capacity to create separation.
Defensively, Johnson’s strength, length, and lateral quickness complement each other, making him impactful on that end of the floor. Despite being listed at 6’5″, he excels at using his strength against larger opponents and is likely to defend positions two through four at the next level. Although he’s on the older side at 23 years old, Johnson perfectly fits the Cavaliers’ needs and has the potential to make an immediate impact in the rotation in his first year.
While it is indeed incredibly challenging to find a rookie who can contribute in the playoffs during their first year, these five options could all serve as valuable additions to the Cavaliers’ wing depth. Although they each have their weaknesses, their notable strengths indicate that they could earn a spot in the rotation sooner rather than later.