Today, the NBA Draft Blog Scouting Report looks at a senior leader who impressed a lot of people with his scoring ability during his college career – Marquette guard Darius Johnson-Odom. While known for his offense, the film shows that there is a lot more to like about his game than scoring. Does he have the complete game that NBA teams will be looking for? Let’s take a look:
Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette – Senior
Guard - 6'2, 215
18.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.7 apg, 44.6% FG, 76.4% FT, 38.1% 3FG
Perimeter Shooting- Johnson-Odom is a better than average perimeter shooter, having a good form and range, a high release and good arc and rotation on his shot. He could cut a few tenths of a second off his release time, which would help him against larger defenders in the NBA. He is very good shooting when spotting-up, and he continues to improve his shot off the dribble. He does a great job using a very convincing shot fake to get defenders in the air and create space for his shot. He needs to improve using his dribble to create space for his shot, as well as coming off of screens tighter and in position to shoot. He is a decent mid-range shooter, but he needs to do a better job looking for his shot in that range. One key area he needs to watch for his a tendency to fade away against longer defenders. He should look to draw them in and step in for the closer shot.
Ballhandling/Penetration- Johnson-Odom handles the ball very well. A natural left-hander, he is just as comfortable with his right hand. He uses many advanced dribbles, including a developing crossover and a good hesitation dribble to keep defenders off-balance. He handles the ball well under pressure and is a good option to have in the backcourt against pressing teams. Once he gets by the defender, he goes strong to the basket and does not shy from contact. He is solidly built for his size and can finish at the basket against larger and stronger defenders. He is effective going to the basket with both his left and right hands, and can finish well with both. He does a good job penetrating off of screens, though he could come tighter off of the screens to keep defenders from recovering quickly on him. He also needs to improve his ability to pull up for a floater or short jumper if the help defenders step in quickly, or, as mentioned more below, look to kick the ball out to an open teammate.
Rebounding/Passing- Johnson-Odom is not a major factor on the offensive glass, but he does have the athleticism to get to long rebounds and the strength to outmuscle other perimeter defenders for the ball. Johnson-Odom is a good passer, doing a very good job not forcing passes, and he sees the court well. Two areas he can work on would be doing a better job finding the open man when defenders help against his penetration, and he can also learn to be effective on the pick-and-roll, though it was not a major part of his offense at Marquette.
Free Throw Shooting – As with his perimeter shooting, Johnson-Odom is an above-average free throw shooter. His form is consistent and he does a very good job hitting his free throws in key situations. He also does a very good job getting to the line, attacking the basket and not shying away from contact.
Perimeter Defense- Johnson-Odom is a good defender, both on and off the ball. When his man has the ball, he does a good job positioning himself, while keeping his hands and feet active. He could improve his lateral movement and foot speed, which are decent, but inconsistent. He also needs to do a better job getting through screens. He makes good choices knowing when to go over screens on good shooters, but improved lateral movement would allow him to give his man very little space coming off the screen. His defensive skills should allow him to be a good pick-and-roll defender. Off the ball, he does a very good job again with positioning, denies passing lanes well, and has above-average court awareness, which allows him opportunities for easy steals as a help defender. One area he should watch is a slight tendency to overplay too much at times, leaving him open to quick cuts or weak side screens. Because he positions himself well, he has shown that he can close well on shooters.
Rebounding- While not very big, Johnson-Odom’s solid build, combined with his quickness, allow him to be a decent rebounder for his size. He is not afraid to get in around the basket looking to grab a rebound, and he does a very good job tracking down misses from the perimeter. I would like to see him make sure to put a body on his man before he goes for a rebound to avoid being beat, especially from the perimeter.
Johnson-Odom does a very good job in transition, able to push the ball himself or filling one of the lanes and spotting up for an open jumper. When he gets the ball on the break, he has the ability to finish strong, though I would like to see him do a better job with his decision-making.
Summary & Intangibles
Athleticism – High
BB IQ – High
Johnson-Odom is definitely one of the players I got a better appreciation of as I watched more film on him. Offensively, his ability to score in a variety of ways, and quickly, will give him a chance to impress a lot of people. Also, his defense is fundamentally good, and with a few minor improvements, I have no doubt he could be a good defender at the NBA level. The key for Johnson-Odom before the draft will be to show teams that he can function as a NBA level point guard. Known more for his scoring ability, it could be tough for Johnson-Odom to break into a rotation as a 2 guard. But, if he can show that he can run the offense and distribute at that level, combined with his scoring and defensive skills, he could score minutes next year as a solid backup in a team’s guard rotation. Johnson-Odom should go in the first half of the second round, but my feeling is that he will show enough to go in the first 6-8 picks of the second (33-38).
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