Van Gundy speaks on Johnson’s Summer League play

Apr 10, 2015; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy during the game against the Indiana Pacers at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2015; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy during the game against the Indiana Pacers at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

Stanley Johnson has exceed my expectations so far at the Orlando Summer League.

It’s not that I doubted his ability to affect the game in the variety of ways he’s shown,  it’s that I didn’t expect him to have so much poise and score as consistently as he has.

Here’s what I wrote about Johnson before the draft:

"NBA ready body and he’s a good defender. Due to his size, Johnson offers the ability to play either small forward or power forward in small doses. That kind of versatility is exactly what Stan Van Gundy is looking for. Johnson isn’t in Hezonja’s class in terms of shooting or scoring, but his 37.1% shooting from three is satisfactory and should only increase with more experience.He can spot-up effectively and slash to the rim for easy points, but is still raw in terms of being able to create for himself. He also struggled when getting to the rim which was surprising given his size. Some also worry his lack of elite athleticism, but those concerns seem to be overblown."

It’s just Summer League– which means everything we see should be taken with a grain of salt– but the concerns I had about Johnson’s finishing at the rim and creating for himself appear to be areas that Johnson’s worked really hard at since his last game at Arizona.

A lot of his finishing issues at Arizona stemmed from his decision making and trying to draw fouls–though Johnson himself has said that his issues finishing at the rim were way overblown. He’s clearly been able to identify when to drive, pull-up, and shoot as evident by his 70 percent shooting from the field (50 percent from three-point territory). He’s also done a lot of his damage on offense creating shots off the dribble for himself.

He’s impressed most, but how does Stan Van Gundy feel about Johnson’s Summer League play?

Keith Langlois of detroitpistons.com:

"“I’ve been at this long enough that I don’t get real pumped up if a guy plays real well in Summer League and I don’t get real depressed if he doesn’t,” he said. “It’s good for him to play, it’s good for him to learn, it’s good for us to be able to look at strengths and weaknesses and know what we want to work on for the rest of the summer.”“I think he’s played well. He has shot the ball better probably than some people expected. He’s made plays off the dribble. I’ve been impressed with his ability to pass the ball off the dribble, which is actually something, quite honestly, going in I had questions about. The rebounding has been good, but that hasn’t surprised me at all. I think defensively he’s certainly capable of guarding people. Most of what I’ve seen is what I expected, but plays off the dribble and he’s shot the ball well, particularly off the dribble.”"

Stan Van Gundy speaks on Johnson’s Summer League play glowingly, but understands to take the Orlando Summer League performances for what they are–Summer League.

How much of what we see now will translate into the regular season?

The decision making, passing, rebounding, and poise are all traits that should carry over to the season. But will he continue to score as well as he has while maintaining this type of efficiency? Not Likely. There isn’t a perimeter player in the NBA who shoots 70 percent from the floor, and he’s got too small of a sample size to make any assumptions about his three-point shot.

I’m ecstatic that Johnson is playing so well. He’s shown enough to prove he will be a strong asset for the Pistons next season, and the excitement surrounding him is warranted.

Van Gundy is right in his assessment of Johnson’s Summer League play. It’s been fun to watch, but know it’s not all telling.

Next: Stanley Johnson leads all rookies in scoring at Orlando Summer League

More from PistonPowered