Suns Coach Shows Utmost Trust in Cameron Johnson in Postgame Quote

Phoenix Suns, Cameron Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Cameron Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Flapping their wings to stay airborne even as the Phoenix Suns rained fire with countless 3-pointers from above, the New Orleans Pelicans hung around last night far longer than anyone expected them to.

Pushing both Jalen Smith and Bismack Biyombo into foul trouble early on, Jonas Valanciunas looked ready to take over at several different periods during last night’s game, even helping his guys slice Phoenix’s lead to two points with just over six minutes left to play. By his side, Devonte’ Graham looked like a superstar, splashing home six triples to finish with 28 points.

But all the while, the Suns kept their barrage up, knocking the important shots down as they always seem to do. When the dust settled, the scoreboard at last reflected a 123-110 final tally in their favor.

Devin Booker once again caught fire at the ideal time, finishing with 33 points while shooting 3-6 from beyond the arc. Mikal Bridges also added 23 points, going 5-9 from three. It went down as a season-best scoring performance from him, surpassing his 22-point game also against New Orleans in November. A nickname like “the Pelican killer” feels a bit too strange to catch on, but he certainly does seem to enjoy playing against them.

But even while those two poured it on for the Suns, Cameron Johnson worked as the main fuel behind Phoenix’s long range missile system, going a hyper efficient 5-7 from downtown and finishing with 18 points.

After the game, head coach Monty Williams expressed the ultimate confidence in him, saying that he thinks Johnson should “shoot the ball every chance he gets.”

With Johnson leading the Suns from deep this year as a 44.0 percent shooter from three, it makes sense for Williams to feel comfortable while watching him let it fly. But still, with Johnson as a third-year player, this comment from his coach must feel good for him to hear regardless.

Even with a young team, giving a guy with only 154 NBA games played in his career an unwavering “green light” feels a bit far-fetched, but Johnson has surely earned it. As it stands now, he clocks in as the entire league’s sixth best 3-point shooter from an efficiency standpoint, just a few ticks behind Luke Kennard, Grant Williams, Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, and Joe Harris.

Although he started out this year already well-known as a solid sniper for Phoenix, having shot 34.9 percent from deep last year, this jump feels unprecedented—of course in a good way.

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This line from Williams also tells you a great deal about him as a coach. Although he certainly preaches discipline and focus, he remains a “players coach,” who clearly understands and appreciates the talent around him. A guy like that always feels easy to root for and further presents him as the perfect man to lead the Suns, as if the jury wasn’t already out on that notion.