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- Measurables: 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, senior guard from Marquette
- Key Stats: 18.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 45 percent shooting, 39 percent 3-point shooting
- Projected: Second round
- Hickory High Similarity Score
Why I like this guy
This exchange in an interview with ESPN’s Jason King sold me:
King: If you had a day off and could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do?
Johnson-Odom: I’d probably go get some shots up in a nice place, probably somewhere like L.A., where I could go walk the beach or something.
King: You’d still go to the gym and shoot on your vacation?
Johnson-Odom: There are no days off. I don’t believe in that.
#LovesTheGame. Draft him.
Pros for the Pistons
Aside from the work ethic mentioned above, Johnson-Odom is one of the fastest guards in the country. Maybe the fastest. He’s an absolute blur on the court. On top of that, he’s a very good 3-point shooter (40 percent for his three-year career at Marquette). He’s also one of the best perimeter defenders in college basketball.
The Pistons need depth in their backcourt, they need players who are athletically gifted and willing defenders and they need players who can make 3-pointers and stretch the floor. Johnson-Odom hits all of those points and he could be available when the Pistons pick with one of their second round picks.
Cons for the Pistons
I’m obviously an advocate for the Pistons seriously upgrading their guard spot. With the exception of Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight, I wouldn’t be that heartbroken if every other guard on the roster was new next year. The problem, of course, is that they do have two players under contract in Ben Gordon and Will Bynum. So unless the Pistons can move one or both of those guys, it would be hard for a second rounder like Johnson-Odom to come in and push for minutes right away.
What others are saying
First of all, Johnson-Odom’s mental approach, I believe, comes from being an obscure national recruit after one season in junior college and it carries over to how he approaches the game. His mentality of toughness along with his combination of strength and quickness makes him an outstanding defender.
Where Johnson-Odom has made the most progress is as a shooter is off the dribble. His 0.93 points per shot off the dribble represents a solid improvement off the 0.688 number he posted last year, and he looks significantly more comfortable with pull up and step back jumpers, which he didn’t consistently show earlier in his career.
While he’s unlikely to create off the dribble at the next level quite as much as he currently is asked to, having that skill set in his arsenal represents an advantage over many of his contemporaries.
He’s simply been the man for one of most dangerous teams in the country. DJO scored a season low and a team high 17 points in a bold win at Wisconsin, knocking down big-time shots in baller fashion. Johnson-Odom showed off his pretty step back jumper, an attractive asset to have when it comes to evaluating prospects. His ability to score off the dribble and excel as a spot up shooter help offset some of the concerns over his size and lack of position. He’s been a model of consistency, averaging 19.8 points on 57% shooting from the floor and 46% from downtown. With Marquette quietly playing some of the best ball in the country, DJO should see a rise in national press as one of the more gifted seniors in the game.
What is the best thing Darius Johnson-Odom does for his team?
I see DJO’s speed and his ability to alter it as his best attribute. Sport Science did a feature on him back in December, and it does a great job of showing his full court speed. But he excels in half court speed as well. DJO uses a quick release on his very accurate three point shot to keep a defender honest and that leads to a speed advantage on the dribble as well. He’s shown an aptitude for getting a quick first step on his first defender, then slowing down to cause help defenders to over pursue, and then re-accelerate to the rim once he’s seen where they’re going. Combine all that with an NBA-ready body, DJO presents an interesting draft possibility for many teams.