After putting together one of the best overall performances during Summer League, Stanley Johnson got his first taste of real NBA competition during the Detroit Pistons’ preseason opener. And the 19 year old rookie did not disappoint.
Johnson played a central role for the Pistons, leading the team with 26 points and 34 minutes. Johnson also chipped in 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals on 8 of 17 shooting. He scored from everywhere, converting 3 of 6 from three point distance and 7 of 9 from the free throw line.
Praised for his versatility, Johnson actually played minutes at the point guard position in the second half. Without starter Reggie Jackson, the Pistons were forced to rely on Johnson’s ball handling and strength to spell former Colorado point guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
So far, Johnson has passed every test with flying colors and is looking like one of the most pro-ready players in the 2015 NBA Draft. Earning heavy praise from head coach Stan Van Gundy, Johnson is line for a significant role despite being the third youngest player in the league.
Currently embroiled in a battle with 4 year player Marcus Morris for the starting small forward spot, Johnson has the potential to be in the starting rotation from day one. If his stellar level of play continues, it may only be a matter of time until he usurps the starting role from his veteran teammate.
Watch Johnson’s highlights from his NBA preseason debut below.