Detroit Pistons’ Stanley Johnson can still be next Jimmy Butler

Detroit Pistons small forward Stanley Johnson has been drawing Jimmy Butler comparisons since before he came into the NBA. Three and a half seasons in, does the comparison still hold up?

The Detroit Pistons had high expectations for Stanley Johnson when it drafted him eighth overall in the 2015 NBA draft.

So did many others. In fact, numerous people, myself included, thought he could morph into the next Jimmy Butler based on his skill-set.

PistonPowered had two writers compare Johnson to Butler (click here and here), and Stan Van Gundy himself even used the comparison, based on situation and talent level.

Three and a half seasons in, do the comparisons still hold up?

If you’re a Pistons fan, this will excite you…


First three seasons per game:

First three seasons per 36 minutes:

What’s even better for Johnson, in terms of this comparison to this point in his career, is that is three years younger than Butler at season three, with Johnson 21 and Butler 24.

What I have provided you thus far is numbers on a page, and a few different links to other’s takes about the comparison.

The truth of the matter is that projecting a player to become one of the handful of stars in the league like Butler is difficult. It is even more difficult considering the Butler’s path to stardom, that is, relative obscurity, to almost overnight star, has an unpredictable nature in and of itself.

While the numbers for Johnson and Butler are close to this stage in their careers, no one can really say if Johnson will make the leap Bulter did.

Still, the comparisons exist for a reason. Both had similar skill-sets coming into the NBA, along with size and mentality.

I also covered the 2015 draft class extensively, and have been fairly spot on with my analysis of Johnson.

The comparison exists because both Johnson and Butler have such similar games, and both had to really earn their playing time coming into the league. Early on, it was about development and opportunities, or lack thereof.

Johnson’s recent streak of improvement could ultimately prove to be just that, a streak. It could also be the beginning of his ascension into NBA stardom.

It’s impossible to predict where Johnson’s career will go, but the Jimmy Butler comparison is firmly still in place.


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