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Spurs: Keldon Johnson can be one of the best forwards in NBA

Keldon Johnson
Keldon Johnson / Jamie Schwaberow/GettyImages
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San Antonio Spurs
Keldon Johnson / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

Keldon is showing his size doesn’t matter

At 6-7, Johnson is not nearly as tall as some of the seven-footers he has to compete with. His rebounding average of 3.3 is nowhere near the top in the league, but it’s above average for his position. He is, on average, three inches shorter than his competition, so staying competitive with rebounding shows that he can be just as good as the perceived better players. 

His wingspan is also not that impressive, but he doesn’t let that stop him on defense. He ranks 45th in the NBA in steals, but there are already 388 NBA players who have received minutes this season. Coupled with an elite backcourt in Derrick White and Dejounte Murray, one of the best defensive centers in Jakob Poeltl, and a bench unit led by Devin Vassell and, hopefully, Josh Primo soon, the Spurs could be the best defensive team in the league, and Johnson could be in the middle of it.

Johnson does not play with finesse or grace at all. He is a bruiser and a punisher who bulldozes his way to the basket. Recently, he’s added some touch to his jumpers and floaters, but it doesn’t take a basketball guru to see that his strength is, well, his strength.

Johnson is undersized for his position but he clearly is not aware of that. He rams his way to the basket to get an easy layup nearly every time he puts his head down. He’s scored 43 of his 62 points this season on drives, and really no one seems to be able to get in his way.