3 things that would take Keldon Johnson to the next level
2. Passing Vision
If the Spurs plan on offering Johnson more ballhandling responsibilities in the coming seasons, he must become a better playmaker than the one we have seen through his first four years in the league. When looking at high-usage forwards like Jayson Tatum, Jimmy Butler, and Pascal Siakam, their ability to leverage scoring gravity into passing windows is undeniable.
That skill is something Keldon has yet to depict consistently. While he had moments of brilliance, the blinders were on more often than not. He made the fewest passes out of the 35 players that drove more than 12 times per game this season, missing simple reads and kick outs as he made his way downhill and barreled through defenders around the basket.
Johnson forced ill-advised layups and sought contact rather than slowing down to survey the floor for open teammates. That physicality sometimes earned him free throws, but his predetermined drives typically ended with a low-percentage attempt in the paint. Committing 2.1 turnovers per game was not a glaring issue. Still, he could afford to clean things up a bit.
Although the six-five slasher may not have top-flight court vision, he gave fans a reason to be optimistic toward the backend of the season. Johnson averaged 3.9 assists over his last 13 games, hitting screeners with precise pocket passes in the pick-and-roll, shoveling the ball to bigs in the dunker spot when drawing help, and finding open shooters from one man away.