Phoenix Suns Player Grades After First Half of the Season

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Mid-Season Grades for the Phoenix Suns: First Guys Off the Bench

As a top-10 rebounding, field goal percentage, and 3-point percentage bench team, Phoenix keeps its foot on the gas even when their big names take a seat, with two of their initial reserve guys especially carrying the load.

Cameron Johnson – 11.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.3 APG (.460/.430/.846)

Although he also possesses solid cutting and defensive skills, Cameron Johnson fully established himself as a premier 3-point shooter during this season’s first half, taking 5.7 attempts per game and hitting them at 43.0 percent clip—the fifth best mark league-wide.

Johnson’s shooting even has him on pace to challenge a franchise record. He always finds the right spots to position himself on offense, especially on the fast break, much like fellow winger Mikal Bridges. Although he remains a bench guy, you could not have asked for a better start to the season from him.

Grade: A+

Cameron Payne  10.5 PPG, 3.6 APG, 2.8 RPG (.404/.336/864)

Having missed 22 games following a career-year last season, Cameron Payne represents arguably the most disappointing Sun so far this year.

When healthy though, Phoenix’s sixth man can look like his old self at one point, and then look like his old old self at another—just unable to find a consistent groove. His shooting from three is worse this season by double digit percentage points compared to the last. He also finds himself averaging a career-high 1.8 turnovers per game.

Hopefully he heals up and turns things around. Phoenix needs him now more than ever with Paul out likely until the playoffs.

Grade: C

JaVale McGee – 9.9 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.0 BPG (.657/.683)

Arguably the most underrated offseason signee by any team this past summer, JaVale McGee has been a fantastic surprise for this Suns team, providing energy every single time he steps onto the floor.

On a per 36 minutes scale, he is averaging a career high in points even at 34-years-old. He represents one of the better short spurt guys in the game right now, and a seamless fit running the pick-and-roll game with Paul. The way he stood in for Ayton on numerous occasions this year earns him some extra appreciation as well.

Grade: A