Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones has re-shaped the roster in one offseason, a rate and to a degree than on one quite expected. He definitely deserves an “A” for it.
In school, whether you receive a 90.0% on a paper or a 105.0%, the letter grade awarded by your teacher is an “A”.
Sure, there are semantics to this as some schools/teachers will give you an A-, or A+ depending on where within that range you fall, but the most important part about that grade is that it was an “A”, which in the educational world means you did a good job.
For a franchise like the Phoenix Suns which has suffered at the bottom of the league for most of the last nine seasons, the changes that James Jones implemented in one offseason, not only wiped away most of what was poor about the roster in 2018-19, but has put into place a roster that appears to be far superior than any roster the franchise has ran out in at least five years, if not ten.
So while no one will really know for sure how good the team is until after the 2019-10 regular season has begun (if not completed), there is no reason to believe that at least on paper, the moves that have been made thus far, and the roster that has been put together, all deserves an “A” grade – whether you give it a plus or minus after, or not.
To put it simply: whether or not you like where Cameron Johnson was selected, he is easily one of, if not the best shooter in the entire draft, with statistical 3-point averages that rival that of some of the best shooters in the Association today.
Yes, some people believed that he could have been had in the 20’s, but that is an entirely irrelevant argument. The fact remains that Johnson is on the Phoenix Suns and he is a very good shooter.
Ty Jerome was also taken in the first round (though a trade – which I will discuss momentarily), and like Johnson, is a superb 3-point shooter.
Of course, for either player, their shooting may or may not translate into the NBA. Tyler Ulis immediately comes to mind as an exceptional outside shooter in college, yet someone who could never get it to fall professionally.
However, what makes the draft such a success is the fact that Jones obviously targeted veteran college players (Johnson played five-years and Jerome, three) who could shoot from 3, significantly improving two of the franchise’s greatest weakness’ from the last few years.
He did not take players who are exceptionally raw and who may or may not develop some sort of serviceable skill, he drafted two players that have serviceable skills, and if they are able to take those already inherent skills to the next level, they will be very good players in this league for many years to come.
Of course would it have been better for the franchise if Jones could have had the first overall pick and select Zion Williamson?
Duh, but the cards did not fall in that direction and thus should not count against him.