Even though his first season just ended, San Antonio Spurs rookie Keldon Johnson is putting in the same level of work to better himself
There are many tangible basketball traits that can be improved over time and repetition, but work ethic isn’t something that can be taught. It’s what made the San Antonio Spurs such a powerful organization over the course of these last few decades and it’s how the league’s superstars have made it to the top tier of this sport. Spurs rookie Keldon Johnson is showing a similar work ethic despite his first season finishing just a week ago.
Social media has showcased Johnson’s early-offseason routine which includes intense workouts and a ton of work getting done in an empty gym. These are the moments that transform a player from an intriguing prospect to a future star. Outworking the competition is how the greats achieve their dreams of becoming the prime examples of their craft.
For someone like Johnson, who went underappreciated and under-drafted after nearly slipping to the second round, heading to the Spurs was a great stroke of luck. This is an organization that enables its player to unlock their talents and become better overall players in the process. San Antonio hasn’t had a rookie who flashed as much potential as Johnson did since Kawhi Leonard — The last Spurs prospect that aimed for the stars and became one.
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Johnson already has essential tools to become an incredible player in this league. His basketball IQ is off the charts, he’s already one of the best finishers on the team, his 3-point stroke is effortless and he’s only 20-years-old. The fact that he’s so well-equipped to make an impact, combined with his seamless transition to the league and excellent fit in head coach Gregg Popovich’s system bodes well for his long-term future in the NBA.
Here are some of the noteworthy statistics from Keldon Johnson’s rookie season, as per Jordan Howenstine of Spurs PR: Johnson is the first Spurs rookie since Gary Neal with multiple 20+ point performances. Johnson is one of three Spurs rookie to score 20+ points, hit multiple triples and shoot at least 70 percent from the field, joining legend Manu Ginobili and sharpshooter Davis Bertans. He’s the first rookie to have multiple 20+ point performances in fewer than 20 games since Ramon Sessions in 2007. Last, but certainly not least, he’s the first rookie in Spurs history to have a 20/10 game with at least three made triples.
Keldon Johnson is built differently from his peers and in due time, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with in this league. He’s putting in the work now so that he can stay ready for later.
The rookie’s work ethic will carry him to the promised land.