The post-Kawhi Leonard era has begun. Per Shams Charania, the Raptors are signing former lottery pick Stanley Johnson to a two-year deal worth $7.5 million contract.
Our resident cap genius Daniel Hackett passes along that the deal will be made using the Raptors’ biannual exception.
Just 11 hours after Leonard’s departure, bringing in a wing replacement like Johnson feels profoundly depressing on the surface. But the the 23-year-old Johnson is at least a little interesting as a post-hype prospect with some pedigree. The former Piston and Pelican is not what you would call an offensive star. Over four seasons and 285 games, he’s registered just 11.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 steals per-36 minutes on a rather putrid shooting slash line of 37.4 / 29.3 / 76.4.
He whips ass on defense though. Last season he ranked 11th in ESPN’s Defensive RPM metric (Kawhi was ranked 45th, by the way), and at 6’7 can slide back and forth between both forward spots. It’s just a shame the Raptors found their LeBron stopper a year after he departed for the Western Conference.
Toronto fancies itself a team that can teach guys how to shoot. Pascal Siakam was death incarnate from the corners in the regular season last year, Norman Powell quietly canned 40 percent of his threes (and 100% against the Bucks, or thereabouts), and OG Anunoby has flirted with reliability as well. If they can milk some catch-and-shoot utility out of Johnson this year, it won’t be all that stunning. It’s worth a shot.
Now go sign Amir Johnson and Vince Carter.