Ever since he was selected with the eighth overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, Johnson has managed to impress each time he has stepped onto the court.
His play at the Orlando portion of the NBA Summer League tournament earned him First Team honors.
Following just two pre-season performances, coach Stan Van Gundy is going to have to carve out a consistent playing time for him.
Johnson has yet to start a game, but only Andre Drummond has spent more time on the floor for the Pistons through the first two games of the year, as the rookie has been on the floor for 63 of the first 96 minuets of the pre-season. Drummond has played 64 minutes.
The biggest adjustment Johnson is going to have to make is accepting he isn’t going to win every night. Success was a staple of his game throughout his career.
While attending Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California, Johnson played and defended all five positions on the court while leading his team to four consecutive state championships.
He helped lead the United States to gold medals at the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Mexico, the World U17 Championship in Lithuania and the FIBA Americas World Championship prior to his freshman season at Arizona.
The Pistons clearly had high expectations for Johnson and each step of the way since selecting him just four months ago, he has delivered.
In four Summer League appearances, he showcased his complete game, converting 57.7 percent of his attempts from the field, knocking down 41.7 percent of his 3-point attempts while averaging 16.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game and played with supreme confidence.
“I think I got better as a player. I showed what I can do a little bit … just getting into the flow and learning how to do things the right way,” Johnson said on the final day of Summer League play. “I don’t think there is anything that can gas up my confidence more than it already is.”
The plan was for Johnson to take a week off, then move to Detroit and start working on his game. With Van Gundy valuing long range shooting, especially as a weapon to provide more spacing for Drummond in the post, the 19-year-old has already showcased his shooting range.
A year ago, the Pistons ranked 18th in the league as it converted 34.4 percent of its attempts from beyond the arc. Johnson is ready to inflate that number, as he has converted 55.5 percent of his attempts, knocking down 5-of-9 shots from 3-point range.
Long distance shooting isn’t the only attribute he brings to the floor, as the 6-foot-7 forward has already proven to be the most versatile player on the team.
Thursday night against Brooklyn, Johnson played 29 minutes off the bench and posted 12 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks, but it wasn’t enough as the Pistons fell 93-83.
In the pre-season opener against the Pacers, with point guards Brandon Jennings recovering from a torn Achilles’s tendon, Reggie Jackson sitting out the game as a precautionary measure and Spencer Dinwiddie fouling out in just 26 minutes of play, Johnson was asked to serve as the facilitator.
His athleticism along with his 245 pound frame has enables the coaching staff to play him all over the floor.
In fact, out of necessity, at times throughout the game, Johnson played point guard, shooting guard, small forward and even power forward.
Johnson drew the toughest assignment of the night, as he played point guard offensively, then had to defend Paul George.
Even with the increased responsibility, he delivered 26 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals, making the fantasy basketball world take notice.
Yahoo! ranks Johnson as the 169th best fantasy prospect, but fantasy owners have been wise enough to select him early in the 11th round, as he is going on average 136th overall.
Johnson has enough talent to join Grant Hill (1993-94) and Dave Bing (1966-67) as the only players in franchise history to capture Rookie of the Year honors and the Pistons will undoubtedly provide him plenty of minuets in his debut season.
Detroit needs something to snap a six-year playoff drought and the selection of Johnson could ultimately prove to be the most vital step in its turnaround.