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Johnson’s star continues to rise in NBA

South Boston News
Keldon Johnson in action as a rookie for the Spurs during the end-of-season play in the NBA Bubble. / January 13, 2021
If one had the chance to watch Keldon Johnson play when he was a student-athlete at Park View — or after he transferred to Oak Hill — they got to witness first-hand his controlled but very aggressive style of game.

Though it’s very early in the NBA season, Johnson, now a second year pro, is starting to cement his place with the San Antonio Spurs.

Going in to last night’s game vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Spurs were at 5-5 and ranked ninth in the Western Division, on the playoff bubble.

Currently the 6’5” 220 pound, forward-guard is averaging 13.1 points per game, 7.4 rebounds, and averaging 2.5 assists a game.

Johnson is enjoying some fairly consistent shooting. But what is making the difference this season is the multiple skills Johnson brings to the court.

So far on the season he has scored 131 points. But he’s also pulled down 74 rebounds, had 12 steals, and eight blocks.

The PVHS alum’s NBA career high for scoring came Jan. 1 with a 26-point outing against the Lakers. Though the Spurs lost the game 109-103, Johnson gathered 10 rebounds, one assist and block, and two steals. (The block was a shot by NBA all-timer LeBron James).

Two nights later he followed up that game up with 22 points against the Jazz. Johnson has two double-doubles on the regular season and has been on the fringes of the double at least a couple additional times this year.

Going into last night’s game with the Thunder the Spurs were coming off of a 1-1 weekend finish with the Timberwolves. In Saturday night’s 125-122 OT win over Minnesota, Johnson posted 17 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a steal.

The Sunday game in which the Spurs lost to Minnesota 96-88 marked one of Johnson’s lowest scoring outputs since joining the NBA. He knocked down three points and had two turnovers — yet he also had seven rebounds, three blocks an assist and steal.

Johnson’s development is ongoing on and off the court. It was just last year when he did his first TV commercial local to the San Antonio area.

Now Johnson is experiencing value increase in the fantasy sports world and in his NBA player cards.

Online site Rotoworld noted Johnson’s value after Sunday’s loss that even though Johnson only mustered the three points: “This wasn’t Johnson’s best game, but it was a nice defensive fantasy performance, featuring three blocks and a steal. He’s one of the season’s highest fantasy risers, jumping from No. 185 last season in 9-cat leagues to No. 63.”

Clutchpoint suggested that now is the time to purchase a Johnson NBA card. The writer Julio Luis Munar states three main reason to purchase a Johnson card now in his article, “3 reasons why Keldon Johnson needs to be your next NBA card investment”.

His three reasons: Johnson has a chance at becoming the Spurs’ go-to player; his potential to fill up the stat sheets and the minutes he’s already getting this season. He talks about in the article how Johnson’s card prices are rising now.

Sure you can go online and maybe find cards not even at $10 for Johnson. But a check on eBay saw one of his 2019 NBA Draft night cards, #3/32, which was signed, being offered for the low price of $1,995.95 in “Very Good” condition.

Where these prices are nowhere near the millions some player cards have gone for, just give it time.

Johnson is on the Spurs 2k21 game team where you the fan can set down and be Johnson, play on the team with him or against him. Even on the 2k21 game he’s rank sixth on the team; his three point shooting abilities earn him high marks in his game profile.

Still, for anyone that knows Johnson personally what you see on TV is still the same young man with the good personality, good character and determination that grew up in Mecklenburg County.

Following his team-leading 22 point performance versus the Jazz, Spurs’ head coach Greg Popovich said of Johnson’s performance in the San Antonio Express News, “He’s 100 percent aggressive and physical — every minute that he’s on the court. He’s got a great motor.”

The Spurs were 2-4 at the time after taking the 130-109 loss. Johnson, who is currently earning a 9.1 PIE on the young season, said of Popovich’s recognition, “Once we get some wins, I’ll be proud.”

The Spurs next game is tomorrow night at home versus the Rockets.

After graduating from Oak Hill Academy, Johnson played one season for the Kentucky Wildcats before being drafted 29th overall in the first round of the 2019 draft by the Spurs.

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