What should the Portland Trail Blazers do with Keon Johnson?
With Johnson’s elite athleticism, size, and already budding defensive chops, there’s certainly a role for him in the NBA.
Unfortunately, the Portland Trail Blazers — and specifically, Damian Lillard — don’t have the time to wait for him to come into his own.
If he returns this season, the Blazers can expect to see a few highlight plays, most coming on the defensive end, but also a lot of struggles from him on offense.
Unless he can mature his game quickly, it’s difficult to see a long-term future for Johnson with the Trail Blazers.
Instead, with Dame, Anfernee Simons, and Josh Hart already on the roster, Portland should try to build up his value for the remainder of the season and see what he can net them in the offseason via trade.
Hopefully, Joe Cronin will prove correct in tagging him with a first-round pick value. Unless Portland’s pick conveys to Chicago, they’ll be short on future assets and avenues to improve the team.
Of course, Johnson could unexpectedly accelerate his development and turn out to be the perfect fourth guard for the Trail Blazers. Without an outside shot and playmaking instincts, though, I wouldn’t count on seeing him suit up for Portland in 2022-2023.