Arizona's Pelle Larsson and Keshad Johnson invited to 2024 NBA Combine

Dayton v Arizona
Dayton v Arizona / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

After seeing four Arizona Football players get invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in February and March, two Arizona Basketball players will be attending the 2024 NBA Draft Combine in preparation for the 2024 NBA Draft in June.

Pelle Larsson and Keshad Johnson — who emerged over the season as the two most draft-worthy prospects — are among the 78 prospects on a list released by the NBA on Friday, May 3.

The combine will take place from Sunday, May 12, through Sunday, May 19, at Wintrust Arena and the Marriott Marquis in Chicago. The combine consists of interviews with teams, 5-on-5 scrimmages, and general athletic tests for speed, strength, and shooting ability.

Larsson's draft outlook

Larsson is a bit older but less experienced than Johnson, having spent four years in college as opposed to five, but was a core piece of the Arizona rotation for three seasons. The 6-foot-6 wing has played in all 108 possible games since transferring to Arizona from Utah ahead of the 2021 season.

Pelle Larsson, Jermaine Couisnard
Oregon v Arizona / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

Larsson flashed his ability as an NBA-caliber player at points over 2023, starting all 36 games while playing a combo guard/forward position. He scored a career-high 12.5 points per game and dished out a team-high 3.7 assists per game too. He shot just short of 52% from the field and 3.0 of his 4.1 rebounds per game came on the defensive glass.

In Bleacher Report's latest mock draft, they sent Larsson to the Miami Heat in the second round with the 43rd overall pick. Meanwhile, The Athletic send him to the LA Clippers with the 47th overall pick. Bleacher Report's pro comparison for him is Christian Braun, and he could see playing time in the NBA if he gets more consistent as a shooter.

Johnson's draft outlook

Johnson, the younger but more experienced of the two, played four decently productive years at San Diego State, but he saved his best for last and peaked when he was with Arizona. The 6-foot-7 forward primarily focused on defense in San Diego, but his scoring prowess finally showed itself in Tucson.

Keshad Johnson, Javon Bennett
Dayton v Arizona / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

Johnson's remarkable improvement from 2022-23 to 2023-24 is evident in the fact that he logged career highs in all but one category: shooting percentage, where he still shot an even 53% from the field. He improved his scoring average by nearly four points, jumping up to 11.5 points per game. He doubled his steals to one per game, more than doubled his assists to 1.8 per game, and logged 5.9 rebounds.

Jordan Monaco from Sports Illustrated raves about Johnson in his scouting report, highlighting his ability to play a defense-first "strength 4" role in the NBA à la PJ Tucker, Jae Crowder, and Grant Williams. In the same mock draft from The Athletic that sent Larsson to the Clippers, they sent Johnson to the Washington Wizards just three spots later with the 50th overall pick.

So, will they get drafted?

Both Johnson and Larsson have continued to improve throughout their college careers and will likely see themselves getting taken in the middle of the second round. They certainly aren't first-round prospects, but they have done enough to at least earn some looks from NBA teams.

They might not have been the best players on Arizona's squad last year, but they have the most upside at the next level and could be the next NBA greats to come out of the Old Pueblo.

KJDraft. Keshad Johnson officially declares for 2024 NBA Draft. dark. ICYMI

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