Brooklyn Nets: Brice Johnson NBA Draft Profile

Apr 1, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Brice Johnson (11) signs autographs during practice day prior to the 2016 NCAA Men
Apr 1, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Brice Johnson (11) signs autographs during practice day prior to the 2016 NCAA Men /

Brice Johnson led the North Carolina Tar Heels to a National Title visit this season. Could he be a solid NBA player as well?

The North Carolina Tar Heels have produced a lot of pros under Roy Williams. UNC is a top-three program in terms of creating prospects at the NBA level. Brice Johnson is another one of those prospects, and has the potential to be a first-round pick in the NBA Draft.

If the Sean Marks and the Brooklyn Nets trade for a 2016 first round pick, then Johnson should be on the list of possible draft choices.


Johnson has the talent and potential to be a very good NBA player, whether as a rotational player or a Harrison Barnes-esque type of player. One thing he must overcome at the next level is he has to conquer his consistency problems and prove to NBA scouts and coaches that his flashes of great play are more than just that.

The Tar Heels have had several big men go in the first round who didn’t ever really make an impact in the NBA (Sean MayDavid NoelTyler Zeller). Johnson’s improved defense, rebounding ability and touch in the paint can prevent him from being one of those names.

Brice Johnson made America’s jaw drop with a 39-point, 23-rebound, 3-block, 3-steal effort against Florida State. It was one of just three 30/20 games across the country this season. Only two Division I players have had 35/23 nights in the past two decades: Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin and Texas’ Kevin Durant. Griffin’s performance was a little better than Johnson’s game with 40 points and 23 rebounds against Texas Tech in 2009. Durant had 37 points and 23 rebounds against Texas Tech in 2008.

Johnson played his best against the best. In 18 games against top opponents, Johnson recorded an offensive rating of 127.5 on 25 percent usage. He had an offensive rating of 130 as a senior last season:

SeasonORtg ▾DRtg


Johnson possesses a numerous amount of skills on offense and defense that would work in the modern NBA.

The 6-foot-10.5, 230-pound Johnson has a great mix of abilities with his scoring instincts, size, and superb mobility. He’s a long, wiry, and top level athlete with great athleticism. Johnson is a skilled finisher around the rim and has a knack for being at the right place at the right time for rebounds. The former Tar Heel possess a soft touch on his jumpers and around the rim, which is very useful in the modern NBA.

Like I said, Johnson has great instincts when it comes to rebounding:

Johnson could be a huge asset in the pick-and-pop game for the Philadelphia 76ers. Johnson has a nice touch from mid-range, and eventually he could develop his shot from beyond the arc. He has a reliable 15-foot jump shot because he has a good form and high release with his height. Because of his touch, he looks capable of expanding his range even further. According to, Johnson shot 46 percent on jumpers as senior at UNC last season:

In this next video against Syracuse, Johnson shows us his mobility and footwork on offense. Besides his potential in the pick-and-pop/roll offense, he can use his footwork and quickness to his advantage if he has a slower defender on him. He is very mobile, agile and coordinated for a player his size:

As a junior, he scored at a rate of 19.7 points per 40-minutes adjusted to 25 points per 40-minutes as a senior. Johnson took on and excelled in a bigger role on a very talented North Carolina team. Johnson uses his athletic traits to good use on the offensive end. His effort, instincts, and explosiveness frequently paid off inside as he did tremendous damage this season as a finisher around the rim.

Johnson is very effective as a one-on-one post player, as he created 30 percent of his offense operating on the block according to Synergy Sports Technology. Johnson finished the season ranked eighth in the country in points per possession among the 267 Division I players who used over 500 total possessions.

Defensively, his length, explosiveness, and quickness gives opponents trouble and it gives him great potential to be a solid defender in the NBA. Sort of like Kawhi Leonard. Again, Johnson moves extremely well for his size on the defensive end, which gives him the ability to lock up his opponents, but only when he’s fully engaged on that side of the court. His improvement as a shot blocker gives him more upside because he is a very dependable and reliable player on both ends of the floor with a mature game and high IQ.

The former North Carolina forward has the combination of athleticism and scoring ability that will definitely attract the eye of NBA teams. Johnson is a very productive player although his overall skillset seems to be limited right now, but with development he can be a starter.

Johnson is one of the most agile and explosive big men in college basketball, and not many players with his size and at his position can finish around the rim like he can. Expanding his shooting range will be crucial for him if he wants to be a starter.

Next: Nets Are Shopping For a First Round Pick

The Philadelphia 76ers have multiple late first round picks (picks 24 and 26). The Nets should take a chance with a trade to secure more young talent. If they get a pick, they should go after Johnson, because of his upside and potential to further develop his overall game and body.