The ups and downs of Tyler Johnson’s season with the Phoenix Suns

Tyler Johnson Phoenix Suns (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Tyler Johnson Phoenix Suns (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) /

It was not a normal year for Tyler Johnson having been traded from the Miami Heat to the Phoenix Suns. But there were plenty of highs with the lows.

In early February 2019, Tyler Johnson was acquired by the Phoenix Suns in a surprise trade for only Ryan Anderson. Johnson had gone from a veteran team in the middle of a playoff chase onto one of the youngest in the league with a bottom-three record.

No more than 30 days and 13 games later, Johnson was basically shut down for the season to help the Suns tank.

For Johnson there was a give and take that came with being traded to Phoenix.

He went from getting inconsistent playing time and coming off the bench, to being counted on as the main point guard in Phoenix as well as introducing more veteran leadership.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

While only appearing in 13 games, Johnson started more for the Suns than he did in 44 games for the Heat; 12 and 10 respectively.

Just like his nickname, Johnson’s time in Phoenix was “Bumpy.”

It started with a five-game losing streak that included losses to Cleveland and Atlanta where Johnson struggled.

After that Johnson found his footing and played well helping the Suns to winning 5 of their next 7, including wins over Golden State and Milwaukee, as well as one over Johnson’s former team, the Heat.

Unfortunately, Johnson injured his right knee in the next game versus Utah and would be done for the season following arthroscopic surgery.

While in Phoenix, Johnson did improve his scoring, rebounding, and assist numbers from his time in Miami. However this did come with a 6% decrease in his field goal percentage coupled with an additional 6 minutes of play time.

These numbers do come from a small sample size so it should be expected that next season he reverts closer to where he had been his entire career, especially as Phoenix adds more talented players.

During his short time in Phoenix thus far, Tyler appeared to mix well with the rest of the Suns’ main players and fit the building trend of being aggressive and gritty.

Johnson does have a large player option in his contract of just over 19 million, so he should be picking that up soon guaranteeing a re-join with the team for 2019-20.

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Overall Johnson had an up and down season that was derailed by injuries towards the end. He certainly did not play his way out of a role with the Suns, but there was not serious progress made either.

It may have proven to be too short of a time to show much so hopefully Johnson can make bigger strides if he ends up coming back to the valley next season.