Phoenix Suns may already have their power forward of the future

Phoenix Suns, Cameron Johnson (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Cameron Johnson (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

There has been a huge focus on the Phoenix Suns acquiring a high-quality power forward, but they may already have one in Cam Johnson.

As most fans would tell you, power forward is the biggest position of need for the Phoenix Suns organization going forward. There have been many a post or rumor about power forwards the Suns could or should attempt to acquire this off-season. Could it be possible that the Suns already possess their power forward of the future?

The NBA in 2020 (in more ways than one) looks vastly different than it did even five years ago.

The game is less focused on feeding big men in the post as the center (literally and figuratively) of an offense, and more focused on having five guys who can spread the floor, handle the ball, and get all the way to the basket to either finish, get fouled, or kick it out for an open 3.

Your common NBA power forward 10 years ago was a player like Carlos Boozer, a physical bruiser that did most of his damage from the post and at most would extend his range to 17 feet or so.

That kind of player would be a dinosaur in today’s game. Now guys like Robert Covington, who can defend multiple positions and score beyond the arc is en vogue throughout the league.

Phoenix Suns rookie sharpshooter Cameron Johnson fits this mold.

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The Phoenix Suns may have their power forward of the future in Cam Johnson.

Johnson clearly has put on some muscle and developed more confidence in the four and a half month hiatus and has been rewarded as the Suns starting power forward during the first four games in the bubble.

In those first four career starts, he has averaged 13.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.7 assists on about 33.3 percent shooting from 3-point range in just over six attempts per game.

He is shooting 39 percent from 3 for the season.

Johnson has proven to be a more than capable rebounder for the Suns and his defensive energy, constant movement on offense (he and Bridges are truly elite cutters), and status as a legitimate 3-point threat for the Suns make him extremely valuable.

He has played more minutes than any other Suns player over the last four wins with 137. That is just over 34 minutes per game.

For more proof of how much value Johnson provides the Suns, look no further than the Pacers and Mavericks win.

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Johnson had 19 points, 12 rebounds, and four assists (on 50 percent shooting from 3) in 40 minutes against the Mavericks and played a huge part in a Suns win that featured Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton much a lot of the second half with foul trouble.

Johnson struggled with his shot against the Pacers on Thursday, only shooting 2-for-9 from 3-point range and 5-for-13 from the field, but he still led the Suns in minutes and plus/minus of +36 in 36 minutes with 14 points and 12 rebounds in the Suns 114-99 win.

Regardless of how the last four games of the regular season turn out for the Suns, it will be interesting to see how James Jones approaches this off-season at the small forward and power forward position.

Dario Saric, Frank Kaminsky, and Cheick Diallo will all be free agents essentially (along with Aron Baynes) and the Suns will have to decide if this small sample size is enough to convince them to move on from Kelly Oubre (they should) for a more traditional power forward or another scoring guard.

There are a few things that have been made very apparent though, Mikal Bridges is their starting small forward of the future and Cam Johnson is a foundational piece for them as well.

With the way the game is played today and the way Johnson is performing in his brief window of opportunity, Cam Johnson should get an opportunity to start at power forward for the Suns in the 2020-21 season.

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