2015 NBA Draft Profile: Stanley Johnson


Mar 19, 2015; Portland, OR, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Stanley Johnson (5) shoots the basketball against Texas Southern Tigers forward Jason Carter (23) during the first half in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2015 NBA Draft quickly approaching, it’s time to start looking at prospects for the Utah Jazz.  Today we are going to dive into Stanley Johnson from the University of Arizona.  We will look at his background, stats, strengths, weaknesses, fit with the Utah Jazz and player comparisons.


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Stanley Johnson grew up in Fullerton, California.  Johnson’s parents were divorced when he was an only child and he was raised by his single mother, Karen Taylor.  Stanley’s mom played college basketball at Jackson State and went on to play professional basketball in Europe.

Johnson went to Mater Dei High School, a prestige catholic school.   Mater Dei has always had one of the top athletic programs in high school sports.  Johnson started for the varsity basketball team for four straight years.  He was an elite player and was known as a defender that could guard any position.  Johnson was the 2014 Gatorade Player of the Year in California.  All four years that Johnson started, his team won the CIF Division I state title.  In fact, Johnson’s high school record was an incredible 135-5!

In his senior year at Mater Dei, Johnson averaged 25 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and three steals per game.  Stanley was considered a top five college prospect and a five-star recruit by most scouting websites.  Per ESPN, Johnson received offers from the University of Arizona, Kentucky, Florida, Oregon, and USC.  On November 15th, 2013, Johnson signed with the University of Arizona.

At Arizona Stanley thrived.  He was the best player on one of the best teams in the nation.  Johnson helped lead his team to the Elite Eight, where they lost 64-63 in overtime to Wisconsin.

Stats and Measurable

Stanley Johnson has an NBA ready body.  He stands at 6’7″ and weighs a solid 242 lbs.  Though Johnson weighs a lot, he only has 7.5% body fat.  This guy is built like a tank.  He has a 6’11.5″ wingspan, which proves how long he really is.  Johnson’s body is actually very comparable to pre-draft Dryamond Green.  Green at the combine measured a 6’7″ height with a 236 weight.

While Johnson’s 13.8 points per game may not seem impressive, he did lead his team in scoring while only playing the third-most minutes

While Johnson’s 13.8 points per game may not seem impressive, he did lead his team in scoring while only playing the third-most minutes.  His per-40 minute scoring number of 19.4 is actually higher than the top rated SF propect, Justise Winslow’s rate of 17.3 points per game.   Johnson also rebounded at the same level of Justise, as both averaged 6.5 boards per game.

A lot of people question Johnson’s shooting without merit.  Johnson actually shot well from the field through out his freshman year.  37.1% on 3.1 threes per game is a great number for someone you hope can be a 3-and-D guy in the NBA.  Johnson’s free throw shooting numbers of 74.2% is very solid for a player known primarily for his defense.  That number leads one to believe this 37.1% from three is not a fluke.

When you look at defensive rating, Drtg or points allowed in 100 possessions, that is where Johnson really shines.  At with a Drtg of 87.6, Johnson really proves to be one of the best defenders in this draft class.  That Drtg number is better than the freshman years of Draymond Green, Kawhi Leonard, Khris Middleton, and other elite NBA defenders.  It is also much better than that of other SFs in this NBA draft class like Sam Dekker(92.5), Justise Winslow(92.8), Devin Booker(92.2), and Kelly Oubre (92.6).  An above average rate of steals and rebounds at his position are two things that point towards Johnson’s defense translating to the NBA.

Stanley does turn the ball over too much and will need to cut back on that in the NBA.  Playing all 38 games shows his durability.


Johnson has the length and size that NBA GM’s covet.  He is an elite defender, and arguable the best defender in this draft class.  Couple both of those traits this Stanley’s tenacity and “gym rat” mentality, and you have a stud.  As mentioned above, Johnson is a great rebounder for his position.  There is a good deal of versatility with the former Wildcat, as you can play him anywhere from SG to PF depending on the matchup.

Stanley Johnson is always looking to get to the basket.  He uses his size and speed well to finish at the hoop.  Johnson also has the strength to finish through contact.  He has a decent variety of post moves and floaters that also help him score.

Though it’s extremely cliche to say, Johnson has an amazing motor.  His competitiveness is similar to that of Marcus Smart‘s from last years draft class.  You can draft this guy and know that he is not going to give up on a play and that he will work on his weaknesses.  This leads one to believe that his shooting will only improve.

While he isn’t a breathe taking athlete like many of the prospects we see these days, he knows how to use his body.  There should be no issue with his athleticism during his transition to the NBA game.


The glaring weakness in Johnson’s game is that he gets out of control at time.  He is not a particularly great ball handler.  At Arizona he was asked to be the go-to-guy while only 18 years of age, but his handles were fairly loose.  This led to Stanley taking some stupid shots through his freshman year.  A large majority of this is because no one else on this team was creating shots on a nightly basis.  Johnson will need to work on his handle and shot selection, but in and NBA system that has other players creating, he will be fine.

Fit With The Utah Jazz

Right now in mock drafts Stanley Johnson is sliding to where the Utah Jazz are picking.  This may change as the NBA Draft gets closer.  However, if they walked away with Johnson, Quin Snyder would be smiling from ear to ear.  Johnson would bring a true 3-and-D component to the Jazz.  Quin has made it very clear they want to be the best defensive team in the NBA, and Johnson would be the lock-down defender that this team needs.  Elijah Millsap is fine, but Johnson is much more of a complete player.  Stanley would be able to develop as the 4th wing behind Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, and Rodney Hood.  Johnson’s elite defense is something that the other three wings do not bring on a nightly basis.  Because of his huge frame, you could actually throw Stanley out as a PF in situations to help spread the floor.

Stanley Johnson would fit as well with this Jazz team as just about any prospect in the NBA draft.  The Jazz seem to know that too.

NBA Player Comparison

The comparisons that have been thrown around for Stanley Johnson include Kawhi Leonard, Ron Artest, and others.  However, the player he most resembles is Draymond Green.  Johnson is not as good of a rebounder as Green, but he is a better shooter and has the potential to be that good of a defender.

Take a look for yourself.  Here are some Stanley Johnson highlights for you to enjoy.