Johnny Juzang has burst onto the scene in recent weeks — and caught the attention of NBA scouts — with his play in the NCAA Tournament. Juzang put on a show to lead the 11th-seeded UCLA Bruins to the Final Four, and he played brilliantly in Saturday’s epic game against Gonzaga, a moment which will be talked about for a very long time.
He was not completely off the radar for the NBA prior to this run, but now his profile will be much bigger. It’s a great time to be Johnny Juzang, who has stamped himself as a memorable UCLA basketball player.
Juzang began his college career at Kentucky. He was a highly touted recruit, but he struggled to find a spot in the rotation and ended up transferring. The decision has paid obvious dividends for Johnny Juzang, who got to return to his hometown and lead the Bruins to the Final Four.
The question now is what Johnny Juzang will do next. He could potentially return to school. UCLA could be even better next year as they could return virtually every major player from this Final Four team and add McDonald’s All-American Peyton Watson.
If Johnny Juzang does enter the draft, he will have many suitors. Juzang’s main skill is as a shooter and scorer and many teams in the late first and early second could use a player like that. He excels in the mid-range off the dribble and he can shoot threes off of movement. He has the type of game that could benefit a contender or good teams that could use his scoring.
Team 1 for Johnny Juzang: Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers could really use a shot creator like Johnny Juzang to play shooting guard for them. Juzang could be a really interesting backup behind Caris LeVert. Juzang’s biggest issue is his defense, but the Pacers are one of the teams that could cover for that deficiency with Myles Turner protecting the rim. The Pacers need spacing and scoring and Juzang provides that in spades at the wing.
Team 2: Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets have quite a few picks in the late first and early second rounds and Johnny Juzang could be an interesting bet for them to make. What is nice about the Juzang fit in Houston is that he can get a ton of usage. Juzang is the type of player that could benefit from the usage provided from playing for a bad team. He can have a tendency to make mistakes and take bad shots, good teams will have less patience for that than teams like the Rockets.
Team 3: Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz are much more of a long-term fit for Juzang, but he does make sense. Johnny Juzang fits the perfect archetype that the Jazz look for. He could fill the Jordan Clarkson role for the Jazz in the long-term. Johnny has that elite confidence the Jazz need from a bench scorer. Juzang will take any shot you ask him to, just like Jordan Clarkson does for the Jazz currently. Juzang likely won’t play early on because rookies barely play for Utah anyways, but Juzang could fill a role in the long term.
Team 4: Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee Bucks are another contender that already has a player that plays the same role Johnny Juzang could; Bryn Forbes. Forbes is a sort of movement shooter off the bench who attacks close outs into the mid-range.
Johnny Juzang is much bigger than Forbes and could end up being the better player because of that, but his role could be similar. Forbes has quietly been very valuable for the Bucks this season and Juzang could fill that same valuable role. Juzang could provide space for Giannis Antetokoumpno and help out the Bucks immediately.
Team 5: Philadelphia 76ers
A trend to notice with every team mentioned here is that they all need shooting. The 76ers are no exception to this rule. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will always need floor spacers and scorers if they are to work as a duo. Johnny Juzang could fill an obvious role both on and off-ball for the Sixers and they would benefit greatly from his scoring and shooting. He could play like a bigger Seth Curry if everything goes his way and Curry has been very vital for the 76ers.
Postscript: UCLA Next Year
If Johnny Juzang decides to return to school, UCLA could be a top five team in the country. Assuming Chris Smith and Jaime Jacquez Jr return, they could be a wing heavy team with a ton of versatility on both ends. Tyger Campbell, Jules Bernard, Johnny Juzang, Peyton Watson, Jaime Jacquez Jr., Chris Smith, and Mac Etienne could be the best seven man lineup in college basketball and all of those guys aside from Campbell could be NBA players down the line as well.