NBA draft profile: North Carolina PF Brice Johnson


Brice Johnson

Position: Power forward

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 209 pounds

School: North Carolina

In the one-and-done age of college basketball, there is something to be said for a player who stays in school all four years.

Brice Johnson remained at North Carolina for his entire collegiate career in hopes of winning a national championship and improving his personal skill set. While the first achievement was snatched from his grasp thanks to Kris Jenkins' epic three-pointer to win the NCAA title just a couple months ago, Johnson more than accomplished his second goal.

The power forward capped of his final season at UNC by averaging a double-double with 17.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. He added 1.5 blocks a night to be named a first-team All-American.

With supreme athleticism and the experience of a full college career, Johnson should be able to make an impact at the next level.

Without question, Johnson's biggest asset is his athletic ability. He packs plenty of quickness and bounce into his wiry frame.

That combination makes Johnson a terror around the rim, where a majority of his offense comes from. The 21-year-old is frequently the recipient of lob passes. He also has a knack for sniffing out offensive rebounds for highlight put-back dunks. Hence why Johnson never shot less than 51.1 percent from the field as a member of the Tar Heels and connected on an impressive 61.4 percent from the field last season.

Johnson's athleticism is also a huge boost on the defensive side. He averaged 2.1 blocks and 1.5 steals per 40 minutes as a senior. That doesn't even account for all the deflected passes and shots he altered with his 7-foot wingspan.

While Johnson has the requisite height to play power forward in the league, his body could definitely use some work. He weighed in at just 209 pounds at the draft combine in Chicago last month. Hardly ideal for a player expected to bang on the block with guys who have around a 40-pound advantage each night.

The weight has more to do with the back-to-the-basket, old-school style for a big man. What could prevent Johnson from having a major impact in the new NBA is his lack of jump shooting. With so much of his offense coming down low, Johnson rarely ventured outside of the paint. When he did, it wasn't all that pretty. Per, Johnson shot 36.0 percent on 44 shots longer than 12 feet last season. While his form is far from broken (he improved his free throw shooting from 57.7 percent as a freshman to 78.3 percent as a senior), there is a lot of room for improvement.

How he'd fit with Sixers
They already have this type of player on the roster (see below).

NBA comparison
Nerlens Noel. Johnson and Noel have more than a few things in common. They are both thin for their position but are able to compensate with top-flight athleticism, being opportunistic around the rim on offense and active on defense. Plus, they could each see their game go to another level by developing a consistent jumper.

Draft projection
Johnson's draft status is hard to pin down. Mock drafts have him going anywhere from just outside of the lottery to just outside of the first round. I'll say with all of that athleticism and the pedigree of playing at North Carolina for four years, a team will pull the trigger on him in the mid-20s.

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