NBA Draft update: Nick Johnson leaning toward leaving Arizona

Jeff Gross

Reports by ESPN's Jeff Goodman indicate Nick Johnson is leaning toward joining Aaron Gordon in the NBA Draft.

Arizona guard Nick Johnson is likely joining Aaron Gordon out the door, according to sources of ESPN's Jeff Goodman, who also reported that Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Kaleb Tarczewski are likely to return to Arizona.

Evaluations from an NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee should be returned to all players interested in learning their draft prospects by today (here's Draft Express on the whole "testing the waters" process), so word should come down shortly about the final decisions of the Arizona players.

Johnson is still projected as a second-round pick and could work his way into the end of the first round if he impresses at the draft combine and through individual workouts.

None of this should be a surprise. Johnson's situation makes it a toss-up about whether he should stay or go, and his choice really. As an atypical guard who projects more as a backup point guard or system point guard, he likely wouldn't do anything next year to warrant a lottery selection. In other words, the risk of his draft stock taking a hit is a lot greater than the reward -- he can improve his draft stock well enough without staying another year at Arizona.

Of course, Johnson leaving would be a big hit for the Wildcats.

It would be even more painful if Arizona lost Hollis-Jefferson and Tarczewski, but if they return, a starting lineup would almost certainly include T.J. McConnell, Hollis-Jefferson, Brandon Ashley and Tarczewski. They would be joined by incoming freshman Stanley Johnson, Gabe York or even Elliott Pitts if he takes major steps forward this offseason.

Gordon, who was all but gone even a few weeks ago, is already getting good evaluations from NBA scouts.

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