We continue to look at the 18 players who are getting some possible NBA Draft love in the mid-major ranks.
Up next is UCSB's Orlando Johnson who has moved into the late first round in some mock drafts. The all-time leading scorer for the Gauchos, he could end up being a top scorer off the bench in the league.
School: UCSB (Santa Barbara, Calif. | Big West Conference)
Hometown: Seaside, Calif.
Weight: 205 lbs
Accolades: 3x All-Big West First Team, Conference player of the year in sophomore season, Big West All-Tournament team, and 2x Big West Tournament MVP
Team Record: 58-35 (2 NCAA Appearances)
Since transferring from Loyola Marymount after his freshman season, all Orlando Johnson has done is score. He is leaving UCSB as the all-time leading scorer (1,825 points), a mark he set in just three seasons. He also holds the single-game mark and the season scoring record for the Gauchos. So suffice to say that whatever team selects him, they will be getting someone who can score the ball at will.
And the best part about Johnson is that he does that scoring without jacking the ball up at will. He takes a lot of shots (hey, a shooter's gotta shoot), but they go in. He finished his career with 46.8 percent field goal percentage, including a 41.1 percent clip from beyond the arc.
Final Season Averages:
19.7 pts...2.9 asts...5.8 rebs...1.1 steals...2.5 turnovers...34.4 mins...45.1% FG...42.7% 3PT...69.8% FT
Obviously, the free throw shooting could use some work. If a player in the NBA has trouble from the line, players know, and suddenly that great floor shooter becomes a liability at crunch time because he can't make the easy, uncontested shot. You would like to see that climb above 80 percent at least in the league.
And these stats weren't just racked up against the Big West conference. Johnson actually had better numbers during the non-conference season, and also proved himself last summer against tougher competition when he played with Team USA.
In terms of value, we continue to look at HOOPWAR, where Johnson turns in an 8.27 mark when you normalize to 30 games. Damian Lillard, who is expected to go in the top 10 posted a 12.5 by comparison, placing him in Anthony Davis territory.
Johnson isn't quite there, but an 8 is nothing to sneeze at. A lot of teams would love to have a player with that kind of overall value (and his loss will certainly be felt by the Gauchos). Imagine Butler, which didn't have a player with a score greater than 4.0, with a player like Johnson and four more wins.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Johnson is consistently praised for his jumping ability and floor presence. He isn't afraid to pass out of the double team, and his shot selection has gotten better with each season. Johnson also posts a 7-foot wingspan which adds to his ability to rebound as a guard, and cause trouble on defense. He also gets credit for his three-point shooting ability, and he finished just outside the top 100 nationally in 3-point percentage.
There are concerns that Johnson's level of competition was not the best in the Big West, but Johnson has also turned it on in big games, such as the two NCAA Tournament appearances by the Gauchos where he scored 20 points against Ohio State in 2010, and 21 against Florida in 2011. His free throw shooting can be erratic, possibly because of issues with his form at the line.
Johnson has the tendency to turn the ball over, but if he scores at the rate he did in college, it shouldn't become an issue at the next level. There are also concerns about his ability to match up defensively against shooting guards in the NBA. It will be important for him to showcase some speed and defense at workouts over the next month to allay these fears.
Current Prospect Rankings
Chad Ford (ESPN): No. 39 (No. 11 at position)
DraftExpress: No. 29 (Projected 1st round pick by Chicago Bulls)
DraftExpress has Johnson slotted to the Bulls late in the first round, and ESPN's draft team is starting to hear teams talk about him fitting in during that part of the draft. The Grizzlies are also projected to take a guard, and both the Bobcats and Wizards are likely to take guards early in the second round. The Warriors could also be in the mix.
NBA Combine: June 7-8