Stanley Johnson has the potential to be a Jimmy Butler type of player for the Detroit Pistons. Let’s take a look at where the similarities begin and end.
When Stanley Johnson was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the 2015 NBA Draft, fans thought that he was the next big thing for the Pistons. Two years later, he followed up a promising rookie season with a disappointing sophomore season.
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Jimmy Butler didn’t get off to a great start for the Chicago Bulls either. In his rookie season, he averaged 2.6 points in an average of 8.5 minutes per game. In Johnson’s rookie season, he averaged 8.1 points per game while playing an average of 23.1 minutes. Fast forward to both Butlers and Johnson’s sophomore seasons in the NBA. Butler averaged 8.1 points per game and played an average of 26 minutes.
Johnson, on the other hand, averaged 4.4 points per game while only playing 17.8 minutes a game. Johnson basically, flipped Butler’s rookie and sophomore seasons. So to clarify, Johnson had a better rookie season than Butler did, but Butler had a better sophomore season than Johnson did.
In Butler’s third season, he took a leap. In 67 games Butler played, he averaged 13.1 points per game while playing an average of 38.7 minutes. Johnson likely won’t average 38 minutes next season, but he can certainly reach the 30-minute mark. Johnson showed up both offensively and defensively in his rookie season. In Johnson’s second season, he only showed development on the defensive side of the ball.
What makes Johnson and Butler so similar is their abilities to play on both sides of the ball. While Johnson’s offensive ability is quite raw, the 20 year old has potential to develop a scoring game. It’s quite obvious right now who the better player is, but Johnson may also have the potential to be the better defensive player.
Playing consistent minutes in the NBA makes a big difference in both finding a rhythm and gaining confidence for a young player. Butler progressed every single season, and Johnson has regressed after two seasons. Johnson might be writing his story just like Butler did, but in an inconsistent fashion. In Johnson’s second season, per 36 minutes, he averaged 8.9 points per game and 1.5 steals. In Butlers, per 36 minutes, he averaged 11.9 points per game and 1.3 steals. Also, per 36 minutes, they both averaged around five rebounds a game.
This offseason for Johnson might be the most important of his NBA career. If he plays as he did this past season defensively and works hard on his offensive game, next season may shape out to be a great one for him.