What if Phoenix Suns rookie Cameron Johnson is a truly Great shooter?

Cameron Johnson Phoenix Suns (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Cameron Johnson Phoenix Suns (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

When Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones selected Cameron Johnson 11th overall, people the NBA-world ’round freaked out. But what if they were all wrong and Jones…was right?

When Cameron Johnson was selected 11th overall by the Phoenix Suns, NBA fans scratched their collective heads as to why someone who had been projected to go much lower was taken so high?

Regardless of whether or not analysts believed that Cameron Johnson should have been taken somewhere in the 20s, he wasn’t, and therefore his true value can only be where he was actually taken, 11th overall.

So what if Jones was right? What if Cameron Johnson was not only worth taking 11th overall, but even higher?

What is he is a truly great  shooter?

Obviously, to be ultimately successful in the NBA, a player must find success at a number of specific skill-sets. However, if he can shoot – and shoot very well – teams will find minutes for him even if other skills never develop in a similar manner.

Miami’s Tyler Herro, who shot 35.5% from beyond the arc on 4.6 attempts in his only season at Kentucky, won the rookie survey for best shooter in the 2019 rookie class.

Cameron Johnson, on the other hand, had a 40.5% 3-point shooting percentage on 4.7 attempts per game in his five-year college career, while shooting 45.7% last season on 5.8 attempts.

Apparently the rookies forgot about Johnson’s entire college career and only focused on Herro’s stellar Summer League (in which Johnson did not participate).

There is probably zero doubt that in reality, Cameron Johnson is a better 3-point shooter than Herro, and is likely the best 3-point shooter in the entire draft class.

So what if that carries over to his career in the NBA in a meaningful way?

No doubt that you know of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, but did you know that in either career, neither player has shot below  40.0% in any single season?

Klay’s career-low is his rookie season when he shot 40.1%, while Curry’s worst is 41.1% three years ago.

Do you know how many players in NBA history have accomplished such a fear?

Try twice – and I just named them (at least based on the research I did, and I looked up a number of career-great 3-point shooters).

What if Johnson can be at that level? What if beginning his rookie season he can average around 5 attempts per game and drain over 40% of them?

It is not hard to imagine this being a possibility, especially when considering that that is what he averaged in five years in college and that he will be playing in the kind of offense that is expected of Monty Williams and controlled by a high-end passer in Ricky Rubio.

Johnson is bound to have a number of wide-open 3-point shots every game, and if the system works in his favor, and he nails his shots at over a 40% clip – will that not only immediately justify the selection but also make the team much  better?

Shooting in the NBA comes at an absolute premium these days, and teams who shoot the best (IE the Warriors) win the most.

So then I ask again – what if he is a truly great  3-point shooter?

He can at least be a player like Kyle Korver (who is a career 42.9% 3-point shooter and only made one All-Star game in his career at the age of 33), who every year is a highly sought after commodity, based solely on his exceptional shooting.

If Johnson can at least be a “great” 3-point shooter, and in particular competent defensively, he will earn a starting role on the Phoenix Suns at some point, potentially holding that position for years.

Presuming that the offense that Monty sets in place is fluidly ran by a competent, passing point guard, Johnson’s shooting will make him a very  important part of the offense, someone who will help the franchise win a lot  again.

Even if he is just a very good 3-point shooter and nothing really more, I still believe that it completely justifies his selection at 11 overall, and will be the kind of depth shooter that every solid team needs.

Next. Devin Booker gets no respect - and it is up to the Phoenix Suns to change that. dark

It does not necessarily mean that he is going to be a star, but he could certainly be the kind of player that every team around the league will covet, and fans of the Suns will feel blessed that he is here.