NBA Draft 2024 live updates

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The Milwaukee Bucks selected 19-year-old Illawarra Hawks guard/wing A.J. Johnson with the No. 23 pick.

The Athletic NBA Draft analyst Sam Vecenie on Johnson:

A.J. Johnson will be the ultimate test of stats and film versus projection this season. If you have an undraftable grade on Johnson, I understand it. The stats are rough. He played in a league that he wasn’t ready for. The tape isn’t great, although I think there is something positive to take away on his defensive growth throughout the season. Offensively, he struggled. He wasn’t efficient and looked extremely sped up throughout the year. But much like with G.G. Jackson last season, should you rely on the tape when it’s abundantly clear Johnson moved up levels too quickly and wasn’t ready to play in a physical league when he was under 170 pounds?

Athletically, there are flashes of upside in terms of his ability to generate paint touches and his ability to separate backwards that are serious. In this draft, where everyone is looking for any remote chance of upside, I wonder if Johnson represents a marginal inefficiency in the same way Jackson did last season.

Or, maybe I’m overcompensating for being low on Jackson last season by ranking Johnson highly as my upside bet in this class. I’d take a flier on him in the top 40 at this point if I had a strong, developmentally conscious organization that I believed would be able to get his frame up to speed within the next two years. There is a legitimate high-upside offensive starter here with defensive tools. But it’s going to take time and a lot of work by whatever organization ends up with him.



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