Evaluating Suns’ rookie Cam Johnson for the first quarter of the season

Cameron Johnson Phoenix Suns (Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)
Cameron Johnson Phoenix Suns (Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images) /

With the NBA season being a quarter of the way done, let’s take a dive into Phoenix Suns rookie Cameron Johnson’s performance and impact thus far.

Many people, including myself, were distraught and surprised when the Phoenix Suns reached for Cameron Johnson at pick 11 in this year’s NBA draft, especially with players like Tyler Herro, Brandon Clarke, and Nassir Little were still on the board. Like too many drafts before, it looked like the Suns, once again, did not know what they were doing.

However, Johnson’s play early on this year has made fans and pundit alike begin to eat their words.

He has given the Suns exactly what they need off the bench this year: SHOOTING. Devin Booker and Kelly Oubre Jr. have been good from behind the arc, but the bench personnel needed a knock-down shooter.

Shooting alone, however, hasn’t led to an overwhelming number of minutes. Cam Johnson is 19th among rookies in minutes played, largely due to head coach Monty Williams finding it difficult to see opportunities for him to play extended minutes.

When Johnson has been in the game, he has produced and provided energy for the Suns. Per 36 minutes he is averaging 17 points and per 100 possessions he is averaging 21 points.

Cam has shown flashes of high quality basketball this year. In games against Atlanta and Brooklyn, he has shown what he could be down the road which is a knock-down shooter off the catch or off one dribble, and a player that plays for his teammates.

To compare Johnson to Klay Thompson this early in his career would not be fair to him or Klay because Johnson is surely not the defender Klay is.

Also, because they do not play the same position.

However from a catch-and-shoot perspective, there are similarities, because 97% of Johnson’s 3s this year are assisted. That is good, but also means he needs to become more comfortable with the ball in his hands.

On defense it is hard for him to guard another teams’ four-man and is difficult for him to keep up with the other teams’ guards, so he needs to learn and grow defensively in order to make it to the next tier of NBA talent.

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Overall, through the quarter mark of the season, Cam Johnson has surprised Sun fans in a good way. He is a mature player that will only improve. He is a player that going forward could have a big role in the Suns’ success.