Josiah Turner was and may still be suspended, so Sean Miller pulled another trick out of his back pocket in starting Kevin Parrom at Florida on Wednesday, which slid Nick Johnson to the point guard slot.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that lineup may stick. Furthermore, it's a blessing in disguise for the NBA future of Nick Johnson.
Here's my comparison that's not going out on a limb so much: Nick Johnson is Shannon Brown. Hear me out.
Both are undersized shooting guards by trade. Both have ridiculous verticals and sweet shooting strokes. That's an easy comparison, I think.
Timing and coincidence is a funny thing, because the Phoenix Suns signed Shannon Brown yesterday. Brown has had a quite interesting NBA career after a great college run at Michigan State, and that's because, as the definition of a tweener, he came out of college as an undersized shooting guard.
It took the 6-foot-4, 210-pound athletic freak years to stick on a roster and find a role. Taken 25th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2006, Brown worked his way from the Cavs, to the Bulls, to the Bobcats, to the Lakers and through several D-League teams along the way. He finally found a role on the Lakers, playing 82 games in the past two seasons.
Why'd it take Brown so long to establish himself despite his obvious athleticism, shooting ability and defensive prowess?
Running alongside point guard Maurice Ager in the backcourt for the majority of his college career with the Spartans, Brown never played point in college.
At Arizona, Nick Johnson looked like he was tabbed to do the same with Turner. But with Turner's off-the-court actions clearly undermining his talents, Johnson now gets to show NBA scouts that he -- at a generously-listed 6-foot-2 -- can play point guard.
Though Johnson isn't the pure passer like Turner, he can take advantage of his new role to improve. He obviously has room for improvement, as he only recorded two assists and turned the ball over five times against the Gators on Wednesday. But earlier in the season, Johnson dropped six dimes in a game. He generally makes the smart pass, and it's hard to judge a freshman making his first start at point guard against a very good No. 12 Florida team.
So I make this Johnson/Brown comparison to provide hope that Johnson, when he's ready to go to the NBA, will be in a better position than Brown.
That's not to say that Johnson, by any means, should or will leave even after his sophomore year. The biggest part of Johnson becoming a solid NBA player has everything to do with his point guard skills, because there's no way teams will take a 6-foot-2 shooting guard, no matter how well-rounded his game is in the scoring realm or on defense.
What do you think of Nick Johnson playing point?