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NBA rookie Keon Johnson’s production is rapidly increasing, peaking with a career performance Monday night against Oklahoma City.
The Los Angeles Clippers selected Johnson with the 21st pick in the 2021 NBA Draft but the Shelbyville, Tennessee native struggled to find a consistent role. After bouncing back in forth from the NBA and G-League the first three-and-a-half months of the season the Clippers dealt Johnson — along with Eric Bledsoe, Justice Winslow and a second round pick — to Portland in return for Norman Powell and Robert Covington.
The move has proved incredibly beneficial for Johnson’s career.
In his time with Los Angles, Johnson played in 15 games and never started for the Clippers. In just shy of two months with Portland, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard has already played in 15 games and has started in five.
Johnson’s production has climbed significantly as his playing time has rapidly increased. In 15 games with Los Angeles, Johnson averaged 3.5 points and 1.4 rebounds in nine minutes per game.
In 15 games with Portland, Johnson is averaging 8.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in 23.8 minutes per game. The former one-and-done prospect at Tennessee has improved his three-point shooting in Portland, knocking down 34% of his triples compared to his 27% perimeter shooting in Los Angeles.
Johnson is currently in the midst of his best stretch of the season. The athletic guard has scored in double-digits in three-straight games including a 17 point, five rebound and four steal performance in 42 minutes against the Thunder Monday night.
The Trail Blazers are in the midst of a poor season and will miss the playoffs as star point guard Damian Lillard battles injuries.