Johnny Davis, from 3-star recruit to projected lottery pick

Leading up to the NBA draft on June 23, Yahoo Sports will highlight top prospects. Today’s prospect is Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis.

Who is Johnny Davis?

Davis was only a three-star recruit coming out of high school and chose Wisconsin over West Virginia, Iowa and Marquette. Davis, a 6-foot-5, 195-pound guard, was the most improved player in college basketball this past season. He shot up draft boards after a strong start to the season and stayed consistent all season long.

The La Crosse, Wisconsin, native averaged 19.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 34 minutes his sophomore season. His biggest game of the season came in January when he faced potential top-five draft pick Jaden Ivey on the road. Numerous NBA scouts were in the building to watch the pair of talented guards go head-to-head. Davis shined on the biggest stage of his season putting up 37 points (13-for-24), 14 rebounds, three blocks and two steals in the win. He was the best prospect on the court that game and solidified himself as a lottery pick.

Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis shoots against Colgate during the 2022 NCAA men’s tournament. Davis is a projected lottery pick in the 2022 NBA draft. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Johnny Davis’ strengths as a pro

Davis is a strong primary ball handler who makes good reads when getting in the lane. His first step off the wing is solid, which makes him an intriguing two-way guard who can play both on and off the ball. Davis has a solid handle and averaged only 2.3 turns per game in over 34 minutes.

One of Davis’ best offensive traits is the way he positions himself for offensive rebounds. He crashed the boards hard all year, providing second opportunities for the Badgers and Davis ranked in the 88th percentile, averaging 1.4 points per possession off offensive rebounds, according to Synergy Sports.

Johnny Davis’ questions at the next level

Davis needs to work on his 3-point shooting at the next level and is one of the only reasons he’s falling into the late lottery.

He connected on just 30% of his 3-point attempts this past season, shooting at least four threes per game. Despite his low shooting percentage from deep, he has strong shooting mechanics with a high release and can get shots over longer defenders in closeout situations.

What scouts are saying

NBA teams know exactly what they’re getting in Davis after a strong sophomore season. He’s a reliable guard who can give solid minutes right away and has a high basketball IQ while reading the defense.

Davis reminds NBA scouts of Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs with his grittiness and how strong he is with the ball in the lane.

“He’s a player that fits the modern game and can contribute on both sides of the ball,” one NBA scout told Yahoo Sports. “Johnny’s going to have success at the NBA level with his two-way versatility and how patient he is with the ball in his hands. He’s still growing as a player and hasn’t reached his full potential yet.”

Davis’ draft range is anywhere from seven to 14 and will likely be a player plugged into the secondary option off the bench.

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