Phoenix Suns: Could Cameron Johnson end up being a better Raja Bell?

Phoenix Suns, Cameron Johnson (Photo by Steve Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Cameron Johnson (Photo by Steve Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Cam Johnson has had a solid rookie year for the Phoenix Suns and it is just a matter of time before he surpasses an all-time great shooter in franchise history, Raja Bell.

The Phoenix Suns traded down on draft night 2019 to select Cameron Johnson from the University of North Carolina. This move was highly criticized by fans and pundits alike, but lately, it has been looking like the right move. Johnson was bought in to be a 3 and D specialist, which is exactly why the Suns signed Raja Bell back in 2005. Bell was great for the Suns but with Johnson’s size and athleticism, I think Cam could be an even better version of Raja Bell.

Cameron Johnson has quickly become a fan favorite and a franchise building-block for the Phoenix Suns. Due to his great outside shooting and lockdown defense, Suns fans are very excited to see what the future holds for him. After a slow start to his rookie season, Johnson picked up his play and displayed his talents.

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Cam Johnson will one day surpass Raja Bell in Phoenix Suns lore.

From games 9-24, Johnson was averaging 10.7 points per game, 0.7 steals, and 0.4 blocks on 42.2 percent from 3. During that stretch, Cam had 11 games of 10+ points, 10 games with one or more steals, and six games with at least one block. Towards the end of the season, Johnson once again was starting to find his footing in this league, with averages of 10.1/1.2/0.4 on 43.1 percent 3-point shooting during the Suns’ last 10 games before the hiatus, including a 21-point, three-block outing against the Raptors.

So far, Johnson is already off to a better start to his career than Raja Bell. It took until Bell’s 4th season in the NBA to play meaningful minutes and have stats similar to Cam’s. This season, Johnson is averaging 8.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.6 steals, and 0.3 blocks on 39.7 percent from 3. Bell was putting up averages of 11.2/0.8/0.2 on 37.3 percent from deep in his 4th season as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. They have extremely similar stats and if you were a Suns fan back in the glory days, the two play a lot alike.

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Both players’ main job is to show up and hit spot-up 3s and play excellent defense. The reason I think Johnson can end up being even better is because of his offensive versatility and his overall athleticism. Cam has shown to move a lot more off the ball and likes coming off screens for his shots. While Bell also did that, he was more of just a catch and shoot player.

As we saw in a game against the Lakers earlier this season, Johnson is also capable of rising up for a huge poster, as he did over Javale McGee. While I do not expect Cam to be like Oubre and consistently dunk on his opponents, he has shown an ability to play inside and make the right cuts to find himself open in the paint.

Bell ranks 40th all-time in scoring for the Suns, 49th in steals, and 6th all-time 3-pointers. He also was named to an All-Defensive team twice in his career. Raja is a historical favorite for Suns fans, and while it may be hard for some to accept, it is not going to be hard for a player of Cam’s skillset to catch up to him and eventually surpass.

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