It was a memorable season for the San Antonio Spurs' third-year forward out of Kentucky. Keldon Johnson was called on to step into a larger role in 2021-22 and he rose to the occasion in a big way, becoming the team's second-leading scorer and making major strides in his game as a whole, particularly on the offensive end.
After taking home the gold medal with USA Basketball in the Olympics last summer, Keldon used that experience as a springboard and put up a career year with the Silver and Black. He became the second-youngest Spur ever to reach 2,000 career points this season, with the only younger player being Tony Parker.
Johnson's statistical career highs rose across the board in almost all major categories, with his improvements as an outside shooter and efficient scorer being the most notable. His rapid growth at just 22 years old is extremely encouraging, and it certainly bodes well for his chance to continue growing into a full-fledged star if he continues to progress at this pace. Here's what we learned from KJ's third NBA season.
1. Keldon Johnson Is A Sniper
Keldon took a major leap as a shooter this year, especially from 3-point range. He took and made threes with a much higher degree of confidence than he'd shown in his first two years in San Antonio. Of all Spurs players that played in at least 50% of the team's games this year, Johnson held the second-highest outside shooting percentage behind only Doug McDermott, not including shots from beyond half court (hi, Jakob Poeltl).
His shooting prowess from outside helped the Spurs make 925 threes in 2021-22, over 200 more than the 716 they made as a team in 2020-21. Individually, he nailed 159 from distance on the season, making over two threes per game on average.
The numbers say that Keldon liked shooting from the left corner better than any other spot on the floor when attempting a three. He shot 50.9% from the left corner and 46.3% from the right corner. On above the break threes, he was above league average at 37.2%. Those are pretty ridiculous numbers for a guy who was regarded as an inconsistent shooter coming out of college.