7 - AJ Johnson

6-5, 165 Point Guard/Shooting Guard
USA International
Birthday
12/01/04 (19.6 yrs)
Hometown
Woodland Hills, CA
High School
Southern California Academy
International Team
Illawarra Hawks, NBL
Team Site Profile
Athleticism
8
Size
9
Defense
7
Strength
6
Quickness
9
Leadership
7
Jump Shot
7
NBA Ready
6
Ball Handling
8
Potential
9
Passing
7
Intangibles
7

NBA Comparison: Malcolm Lee

Strengths: AJ Johnson is a long, wiry, quick combo guard with untapped potential … “Tantalizing” skill set, physical attributes and long term potential … Has elite level speed, with great ability to get by defenders off the dribble … Defense shows upside with very quick feet and long arms … Can become a lock down defender over time if he gets stronger and sets his mind to it … Longer than he looks with legit 6’5 size , a near 6’9 wingspan and 8’6 standing reach, which is standout size for a combo guard … Explosive leaper, as his 38 inch max vertical illustrated at the NBA Draft Combine … Despite limited minutes and productivity in the NBL, playing in Australia gave him valuable experience … He learned better structure and discipline than what he had become accustomed to, and also gained perspective … Despite not gaining a great deal of playing time, kept a positive demeanor and remained focused to help the team … A good ball handler … Has a smooth ISO game, with a quick first step and the ability to score off pull ups and runners … Shows flashes of considerable potential … Huge wingspan helps him to get shots as well as be disruptive defensively … A very intriguing development project, who put in the right situation could really thrive … Has the makings of a high level isolation player … Shot form shows nice potential …

Weaknesses: Physical strength remains a challenge … Lacks readiness … Has clearly worked on improving his shot, higher release point and better follow through, but remains inconsistent … Shooting efficiency has been below average, to this point … Toughness and focus are areas that he must continue to improve … He’s put on some weight but still has a long ways to go at 167 lbs … May always be on the thin side, as he seems to have a naturally thin build … Unproven as a volume scorer, go to player … Shooting shows potential, but lacks consistency in games … Has never had a season in high school or college where he put up a high volume of scoring … Likely a few years away from being able to contribute anything at the NBA level … The fear is that he will be a guy that does not make it with his first NBA team and ends up being a development project for a number of seasons before becoming a well rounded player … Lack of strength still an issue on both ends of the floor … Can be overpowered defensively, and struggles to finish plays off after contact … Unlikely to contribute much for a couple seasons, as his strength will need improvement … Struggles to impact games for long stretches and consistency will be the key for him … Has the street ball handles and skill set, but at times can be too enamored with creating, and over-dribble … The key will be utilizing the creativity within his game without being out of control …

Outlook: A high ceiling, low floor, boom or bust type of pick. Considered a likely second round pick for the 2024 NBA Draft … Had a strong performance in one of the 2024 NBA Draft Combine games, with 13 points on 5-7 shooting. He also displayed some ability to play point guard, opening some eyes in Chicago … De-committed from Texas and spent the 2023-24 season playing for the Illawarra Hawks of the Australian NBL … Averaged 16.7 points, 4.7 assists and 2.6 rebounds as a junior for Taft (Woodland Hills) high school n the 2021-2022 season … Following collapse of Donda program, transferred to Southern California Academy for 2022-23 season … Proponents of his game see a bigger Louis Williams type of scoring combo guard … Wowed with some highlight plays at the CP3 camp in Los Angeles following his senior season in high school …

Notes: Measured 6′ 4.25” barefoot, 8′ 6.00” standing reach, 167 lbs, 6′ 8.50” wingspan, 29 standing vert, 38 max vert at the 2024 NBA Draft Combine … Native of Fresno, California … Good friends with Houston Rockets guard and fellow Fresno native Jalen Green, the duo joked that they are brothers during Johnson’s senior season … Averged 2.9 ppg, 0.7 apg, 1.3 rpg, and 37% fg% …Was rated as a four star, top 25 recruit coming out of high school …

Aran Smith 6/17/24

Strengths: 6’5 combo guard … Good size and length for position … Good athlete and very fluid. Very quick, fastest in the class, and stays under control at a high speed. Shows off top end speed in the open floor and quick burst in the half-court. Solid vertical and finishes above the rim … Shifty ball-handler and gets where he wants with the ball. Keeps dribble alive under pressure. Effective crossover, good change of speed, and dribble-drive slashing ability. Gets to the rim in the half-court and doesn’t hesitate to attack going to his left or right. Covers ground well on drives. Good touch on floater and solid midrange scoring ability … Effective pull-up off the dribble … Good potential on the defensive end. Sticks well on the ball and disrupts the ball-handler. Averaged 1.7 steals per game over the adidas 3SSB in 2022 and 1.1 steals per game over the Grind Session in 2022-23 …

Weaknesses: Still projects to mature physically, but he currently lacks much strength and doesn’t handle contact well, losing the ball at times while trying to fit into tight spaces. Improving strength will be important with his downhill attacking style of play, enduring contact each and every drive, especially at the next levels … Can improve finishing at the rim and overall scoring efficiency. Has plenty of room to improve scoring technique and expand his arsenal. Scoring averages: 12.6 PPG 36.5% FG% adidas 3SSB 2022, 5.6 PPG 33.3% FG% NBPA Top 100 2022, 14.4 PPG 41.1% FG% Grind Session 2022-23 … Streaky shooter but has room to improve 3PT shooting consistency and his release is a little low: 22.4% 3PT% 4.2 3PTA 3SSB 2022, 7.1% 3PT% 2.8 3PTA NBPA Top 100 2022, 27.5% 3PT% 6.4 3PTA Grind Session 2022-23 … Free throw shooting dipped his senior year, from 81.4% FT% over the adidas 3SSB in 2022 to 68.4% FT% over the Grind Session in 2022-23 … Combo guard that needs improvement as both scorer and facilitator – can’t sell himself as excelling in either area as a prospect quite yet as he still has a way to go developing as a distributor and ideal point guard traits overall. Can cut down on unforced turnovers and improve assist/turnover: 3.2 APG/3.2 TOPG adidas 3SSB 2022, 1 APG/1.2 TOPG NBPA Top 100 2022, 2.5 APG/2.4 TOPG Grind Session 2022-23 … Although it’s not necessarily the role of a point guard, he has enough size to improve as a rebounder and fails to box out his man at times. Rebound stats: 3.1 RPG adidas 3SSB 2022, 2.2 RPG NBPA Top 100 2022, 3.4 RPG Grind Session 2022-23 … Picks up unnecessary fouls at times … Can get more action playing off the ball and isn’t heavily involved with the offense until the ball is in his hands, generally spacing the floor in the half-court and creating off the dribble for his own points. Can over-dribble at times … One of the highest risers in the class after the summer going into his senior year, but had a few lackluster production wise games his senior year …

Outlook: NBL rookie … Transferred to Southern California Academy for his senior year …

Evan Tomes 10/7/23

Strengths: 6’5 combo guard … Good size and length for position … Good athlete. Very quick, fastest in the class, and stays under control at a high speed. Shows off top end speed in the open floor and quick burst in the half-court. Solid vertical … Shifty ball-handler and gets where he wants with the ball. Keeps dribble alive under pressure. Effective crossover, good change of speed, and dribble-drive slashing ability. Gets to the rim in the half-court and doesn’t hesitate to attack going to his left or right. Good touch on floater and solid midrange scoring ability … Effective pull-up off the dribble … Draws fouls at a good rate and reliable free throw shooter. Shot 81.4% FT% over the adidas 3SSB in 2022 … Good potential on the defensive end. Sticks well on the ball and disrupts the ball-handler. Averaged 1.7 steals per game over the adidas 3SSB in 2022 …

Weaknesses: Still projects to mature physically, but he currently lacks much strength at only 160 pounds and doesn’t handle contact well. Improving strength will be important with his downhill attacking style of play, enduring contact each and every drive, especially at the next levels … Can improve finishing at the rim and overall scoring efficiency. Averaged 12.6 points per game on 36.5% FG% over the adidas 3SSB and 5.6 points per game on 33.3% FG% at the NBPA Top 100 in 2022 … Hs room to improve 3PT shooting consistency and his release is a little low. Shot 22.4% 3PT% on 4.2 3PT attempts per game over the adidas 3SSB and 7.1% 3PT% on 2.8 3PT attempts per game at the NBPA Top 100 in 2022 … Still has a way to go developing as a distributor and ideal point guard traits overall. Can improve assist/turnover. Averaged 3.2 assists to 3.2 turnovers per game over the adidas 3SSB and 1 assist to 1.2 turnovers per game at the NBPA Top 100 in 2022 … Although it’s not necessarily the role of a point guard, he has enough size to improve as a rebounder and fails to box out his man at times. Averaged 3.1 rebounds per game over the adidas 3SSB and 2.2 rebounds per game at the NBPA Top 100 in 2022 … Can get more action playing off the ball and isn’t heavily involved with the offense until the ball is in his hands, generally spacing the floor in the half-court and creating off the dribble for his own points. Can over-dribble at times …

Outlook: Transferring to Donda Academy for his senior year … One of the highest risers in the 2023 high school class …

Evan Tomes 10/3/22

Facebooktwitterredditmail