With San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray making his first All-Star appearance recently, it's natural to wonder who might be next in line. Keldon Johnson might be that guy. After all, Johnson is the team's second-best player and could have All-Star potential if he continues to develop.
Additionally, that development could be accelerated with an increased opportunity following the trade of Derrick White. In the first five games post-trade, Johnson averaged a terrific 21.8 points and 4.8 rebounds, proving that he's nowhere near his ceiling as a player. Is his turn to be an NBA All-Star inevitable?
Johnson has steadily improved each year but could take his game to the next level next season now that he's a legit shooter. After shooting horribly to start the season, Johnson has steadily been in the top 10 in the NBA in 3-point percentage while attempting 4.6 per game. That's big for his development and could open up the rest of his offensive game.
Keldon Johnson's game has grown across the board
Johnson has shown growth in other areas too. He's gotten better at driving to the basket and doesn't recklessly barrel his way into the paint nearly as often as he used to. That fearless approach can be effective, but teams quickly caught on, which forced him to add counter moves.
Those moves include a euro-step and a floater for when he can't get all the way to the rim. The floater is a work in progress, but both moves, along with his strength, could eventually turn him into a dangerous slasher. If Johnson can continue to expand his game beyond just attacking the basket off of closeouts, he'll be that much more effective.
Johnson hasn't been able to use ball-screens much in the NBA but had plenty of experience in the NBA G League. He proved surprisingly effective using them, and with the playmaking void left by White, he'll get more chances to use them now.
So, when might Johnson become an NBA All-Star? Despite averaging a solid 16 points and six rebounds per game this season, it could be another three seasons. In the meantime, he’ll need to continue to work on his game, particularly on offense, where he has the most upside.
How can Keldon Johnson get to All-Star status?
With his emergence as an efficient 3-point shooter, Johnson should look to bomb away even more from three. As he takes more of them, his 3-point percentage is likely to drop. However, hitting around 38% on at least six attempts per game would definitely boost his scoring.
Johnson could also take his scoring to the next level by adding other skills such as a pull-up mid-range jumper or even post-ups. Moreover, he could take a page out of former teammate DeMar DeRozan's book and focus on getting to the free-throw line more.
All of these are skills that Johnson can add, and he may need to, considering how selective the All-Star process has become. Of the 10 players voted in as All-Star starters this season, nine of them averaged at least 25 points per game.
Also, 19 of the 24 players originally selected averaged at least 20 points. Thus, Johnson will likely need to boost his scoring average by at least five points per game to earn All-Star consideration. Not only that, but most players put up big passing and rebounding numbers, which means he'd probably need to increase his rebounding too.
Fortunately, Johnson’s All-Star hopes should improve as both he and the team get better. Given all of their assets and Murray, the latter could happen fairly soon. Remember, getting two teammates onto the All-Star team is difficult enough, so San Antonio would likely have to be above .500 for that to happen.
Overall, Johnson has significant potential and could eventually make the All-Star team, but that could still be three seasons away. Ultimately, I expect Johnson will be an NBA All-Star for the 2024-25 season.