Now that the Kings have signed former Pacers guard Orlando Johnson to a 10-day contract, lets size the kid up and see what he can bring to the roster.
Career Averages: 89 games played, 10.8 minutes 3.3 points, 1.8 rebounds
Hometown: Monterey, CA
College: UC Santa Barbara
Orlando Johnson at a strong 6’5 220 lbs gives the Kings some much-needed bulk on the perimeter and in an interview with Cowbell Kingdom has indicated that his focus will be on improving the defense of the team having come from that environment in Indiana where the practices were primarily focused around (wait for it) defense.
His DraftExpress profile indicates positives such as his 7’0 wingspan as well as experience with handling the basketball and operating well in the pick and roll game. He apparently doesn’t get enough separation with the ball and on the other side has average foot speed at best. The best case scenario seems to indicate the well discussed “3 and D” guy that so many teams covet now.
That sounds good enough to me if he can be that.
For what it’s worth, per Basketball Reference, Johnson’s defensive rating (in limited minutes of course) is 102 which would tie him with DeMarcus Cousins for 2nd on the team after Reggie Evans. He’s already one of the best defenders on the team! Hooray! (NOTE: Buyer beware, from what I’ve heard and read, all individual defensive stats suck because they don’t adjust for context, like most importantly, the talent level of the player being guarded).
Johnson’s shooting percentages are not great, but he hasn’t logged a whole lot of minutes, and for good reason (he played for the Indiana Pacers). He has spent time in the D-League and seems to understand that his best chance to get minutes will be on the defensive end along with the fact the team has plenty of scoring already. From Cowbell Kingdom:
I came from a coach who was definitely defensive-minded, has one of the best defensive teams in the league,” said Johnson, “so for me, I knew last year, that’s how I would get on the court, and that’s what I’m gonna do here. I’m gonna play defense, play hard and get after it.
If nothing else, Johnson is coming to the team with the right mindset and it looks like Pete D’Alessandro and Mike Malone were quick to jump on him after Indiana cut him loose. Additionally, he will be making Ben McLemore work for everything in practice (probably a lot more than Marcus Thornton did). As a result, maybe Ben McLemore will learn to be more tight with the dribble (he needs to work on that badly in the offseason). In the end, competition brings out the best and McLemore hasn’t had much this season at his position. Johnson could be that guy.
He has got 10 days to prove it. On a personal note, I hope he succeeds because he has had a pretty traumatic upbringing prior to getting to college and thus overcome a lot just to get to the league.
Next up for the Kings, they will travel to LA for a game against the Lake Show. You can find Kings vs. Lakers tickets here.
Topics: A Royal Pain, Basketball Reference, Ben McLemore, Cowbell Kingdom, DeMarcus Cousins, Draft Express, DraftExpress, Marcus Thornton, Michael Malone, Mike Malone, NBA, NBA Draft, Orlando Johnson, Pete D'Alessandro, Sacramento Kings