Stanley Johnson has been gaining a lot of traction since being drafted by the Detroit Pistons eighth overall in the 2015 NBA Draft. After a stellar Summer League performance, he has caught the attention of a lot of the media and is being rated as one of the likely top rookies, even a Rookie of the Year candidate. His fellow rookies have also taken notice.
Every year, the NBA does a rookie survey about their fellow draft class and players already in the league. In this year's survey, Johnson got a lot of love.
The ROY award normally goes to a player who fills up the stat sheet. This often happens to players who are drafted towards the top as they are on a team that severely needs help and the players are more NBA ready. So it is no surprise that you'll see Jahlil Okafor (41.9-percent) and Karl-Anthony Towns (12.9-percent) among the top of the list. However, Johnson's draft class ranked him second (19.4-percent) among the group to win the award. Yes, the Pistons need help, but Johnson will almost certainly start the season as Marcus Morris' backup. It looks like Johnson's Summer League performance really got the attention of his peers. For what it's worth, Justise Winslow did not receive a vote.
And his draft mates do not think that Johnson will be a flash in the pan. He was also fifth on the list of players who will have the best career of the group. At 8-percent, he was only behind Okafor (24.1-percent), Towns (17.2-percent), and Justin Anderson and Emmanuel Mudiay (13.8-percent each). Again, Winslow was not on this list.
Sticking with the whole Winslow comparison, we get to which rookie was the biggest steal. This is normally reserved for players who fell a lot further in the draft than they were supposed to. Chad Ford put up a big stink about the Pistons passing on Winslow for Johnson and heralded the Heat for picking him up. Ford said that was a huge mistake on the Pistons part. Well...his draft class kind of agrees. Winslow was tied with R.J. Hunter, Tyus Jones and Bobby Portis (9.1-percent) for second on the list, only behind Joseph Young at 12.1-percent. But Johnson was also on the list having received a vote.
Johnson also received votes for most athletic. I think that was evident in Summer League. And with his frame it makes it all that more impressive.
David Hopla has been brought on as a shooting coach. Some have speculated that this was partially due to Andre Drummond's free throw shooting and how low Stanley Johnson releases his shot. However, where he releases his shot was not important to his draftmates as he received votes as being one of the best shooters in the class. Mario Hezonja was on the list tied for fourth at 5.9-percent.
In possibly their closest comparison, both Johnson and Winslow were voted as two of the best defenders in the class. Coming in second (20.6-percent) and third (17.6-percent) respectively, both of these players trailed only Rondae Hollis-Jefferson at 23.5-percent. Maybe the reason for the difference was their head to head in Summer League, but I'm just speculating.
Unfortunately, Johnson was not voted as one of the best playmakers. However, neither was Winslow. But, NBA.com did make note of it.
Worth noting: This was the only question for which Stanley Johnson didn't get a vote. He wins the "Jack of all trades" award with votes for seven different questions. Kelly Oubre (six) and Willie Cauley-Stein (five) also seem to be versatile, but didn't win any categories either.
To wrap up his votes, Johnson was also received votes as one of the funniest of his draft class. Obviously, this will bode well with Drummond as he's a jokester himself. Let's just hope the laughs stay in the locker room and off the court (unless we're laughing at beating teams by 20-plus points every night).
Johnson receiving so many votes is almost the exact opposite of the survey for who the Pistons are building their roster around, Drummond. In his rookie survey, Drummond only received votes for two categories: Most Athletic and Best Defender. That was even fewer than Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who received three votes in his rookie survey: Most Overlooked, Most Athletic and Best Defender.
But take notice, league. The last three Pistons draft picks have all received votes for Best Defender and Most Athletic. The Pistons hired Stan Van Gundy, a defensive coach that likes to run, and is getting his system in place with a team he has selected. With the additions of Morris and Reggie Bullock (possibly), it should no longer be that easy to score on the Pistons (who were 14th in the league last year in OPP PPG). And while we do it, we're also going to be laughing and dunking a lot.