Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
With Fort Wayne just a 2-hour drive from Indianapolis, it only makes sense for the Pacers to send their rookies north for some playing time. Orlando Johnson made the most of his minutes and led the Mad Ants to their fourth win of the season.
Indiana Pacer rookie, Orlando Johnson, got a chance to run this weekend after being assigned to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants for the second time this season. In his previous stint with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the 6-foot-5 guard scored a combined 45 points and pulled down 15 rebounds over two games.
The former UC-Santa Barbara standout continued his D-League success by leading all scorers with 24 points in the recent Mad Ants win against the Texas Legends.
After being named the "Big West Player of the Year", Johnson was selected in the second round (36th overall pick) of the 2012 NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings. He was then traded to the Pacers for cash.
So far, the 23-year-old looks like a solid investment. Simply put, Johnson can score from anywhere on the floor. He plays offense with confidence and can hit buckets on the run, off-the-dribble, or in catch and shoot situations.
At times, it seems that the more difficult the shot, the more likely it is to fall for Johnson. He has nice perimeter moves that give him just enough room to get shots off. The guard's high release point allows him to hit with ease, even with a hand in his face.
With that said, the Legends could not find a way to stop Johnson on Friday night. Late in the game, they opted for the double team. However, when Johnson couldn't split the defense and score anyways, he switched gears and dished out six dimes, in addition to pouring in of the points.
His strong performance pulled the defense out to the perimeter and created scoring opportunities for his teammates. Johnson was fast in transition and even mixed it up on the boards against bigger opponents, pulling down five rebounds too.
It must be jarring to go from sitting on the bench to dominating an NBADL contest, but Johnson has handled it well. In three games with the Mad Ants, he's averaged 23 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals in 38 minutes per contest, and surely will only look to build upon that success as he continues in both the NBA and D-League.