Anytime you’re watching the San Antonio Spurs, it’s tough to take your eyes off Keldon Johnson. His hustle is next-level, his aggressiveness is off the charts, and his energy is infectious. He’s already won San Antonio’s hearts, but NBA media is also slowly learning the phenomenon that is Keldon.
In a recent episode of The Mismatch, a podcast on The Ringer network, Chris Vernon and Kevin O’Connor discussed six players who deserve more recognition this season. Saving the best for last, Vernon couldn’t help but gush over his fascination with Keldon and his style of play.
“This guy is a dog”, started Vernon. “When I watch them, I sit there and go, ‘give me that dude.’ He plays hard as hell. He rebounds like crazy.”
Through 22 games, Johnson is still leading the Spurs in rebounds per game at 7.3 and total rebounds with 160. Vernon continued with what he loved about Johnson’s game.
“He plays angry. He’s there for a fight. This is year two and you see already a guy that can get you 15 points and seven rebounds.”
In addition to being the team’s leading rebounder, Keldon is also second in scoring at 14.6 points per game. He’s also had four 20-plus point games so far, with the most recent one being a 25-point, 10-rebound performance against Memphis.
Kevin O’Connor, who has gushed over Keldon before, agreed with Vernon’s assessments.
“He has no fear of going to the basket,” said O’Connor. “It’s just a heck of a lot of fun to watch him play. He’s just a straight-up fun player to watch play the game of basketball. The Spurs have a number of those guys. They’re fun.”
As his career continues to blossom, Keldon Johnson is quickly flipping the idea that the Spurs got hosed in the Kawhi Leonard trade. His two-way abilities and fearlessness are keeping San Antonio in the thick of things in the Western Conference and making the team fun to watch while doing it.