Spurs forward Keldon Johnson was apparently almost drafted by the Cavaliers. Johnson discussed his near-selection in an interview with Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter video link). The Cavaliers instead opted to draft Dylan Windler with the No. 26 pick in the 2019 draft. Instead, Johnson was ultimately drafted by San Antonio with the No. 29 pick out of Kentucky.
Injuries have limited Windler’s availability across two NBA seasons. Windler missed his entire 2019/20 rookie season with a leg injury. In just 48 games, Windler holds career averages of 4.3 PPG, 2.9 RPG, and 1.1 APG over 14.5 MPG.
“I was expecting to go the Cavs,” Johnson said. “Going back to draft night, I just feel like it’s a blessing I landed with the Spurs.” The 22-year-old small forward out of Kentucky is averaging 14.9 PPG, 6.5 RPG and 2.0 APG for the Spurs. He boasts a slash line of .469/.410/657.
The 13-10 Cavaliers have enjoyed a breakout 2021/22 season, currently good for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. One can only imagine what Cleveland would look like had the club selected Johnson instead of Windler, though in so doing the team may have played its way out of the third pick in the 2021 draft that netted them breakout rookie big man Evan Mobley out of USC.
There’s more out of the Central Division:
- Bulls head coach Billy Donovan has revealed that he expects the NBA will adopt stricter COVID-19 policies with the encroaching winter holidays on the horizon, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago is currently missing guard Coby White and forward Javonte Green due to COVID-19 diagnoses. ‘‘I think that’s happening,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘I don’t think there’s any question that’s happening. My guess is stricter policies than there have already been this year. ‘‘[The holidays], people are going to be around family. The way it’s moving right now, it’s getting a little stricter. For us right now it’s a lot stricter because we have two players that are positive.’’
- Bulls rookie guard Ayo Dosunmu, a second-round draft pick out of Illinois, has earned rotation minutes in the season’s first quarter. K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago examines how Dosunmu is adjusting to playing at the NBA level. “I think I’m getting better each game,” Dosunmu said. “One thing I love about Coach Donovan is he shows so much tough love to me. After every game, whether I play a lot or I don’t play a lot, he always calls me over and gives me words of encouragement. Sometimes it may be good. Sometimes it may be bad. I take the constructive criticism and try to help myself become a better player because I know that he obviously sees something in me if he’s coaching me hard.”
- The developmental nature of the 2021/22 season for the Pistons will be measured more by player improvement than by the year-end win-loss tally, opines Rod Beard of the Detroit News. The youth-oriented club, led by forward Jerami Grant and 2021 top pick Cade Cunningham, is currently the bottom seed in the East with a 4-18 record.