Suns Practice Includes Cam Johnson Update and Look at a New Player

Phoenix Suns, Cameron Johnson (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Cameron Johnson (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images) /

Riding an eight-game win streak that also has them rapidly approaching a franchise record, the Phoenix Suns are gleefully ripping through the NBA right now like a parade coming down main street.

With one casted as the returning hero and the other looking like a dark horse MVP candidate, Chris Paul and Devin Booker have entire floats dedicated to themselves amidst this joyous ride.  Mikal Bridges, Deandre Ayton, Landry Shamet, and Cameron Payne are all aboard as well—each playing arguably their best basketball of the season right now.

Granted, the Suns are not exactly celebrating at this point, having set their eyes on throwing a real parade three months from now. But no matter how you slice it, this team has fun each night, keeps moving forward, and resembles the main attraction for all basketball fans across the globe.

Beneath all that excitement though, one can easily forget about everything else going on in the Valley. Recently, that includes two topics one might normally find compelling, such as a key player’s return to the floor in Cameron Johnson, and the arrival of an entirely new talent in Gabriel “Iffe” Lundberg.

Although it indeed makes little sense to focus on someone signed to a two-way contract and another guy laboring through a quad injury amidst everything else going on right now, hard core Suns fans would never want to completely turn their backs on them. Some insight on each player did become available at Suns practice today, which deserves our attention.

Phoenix Suns Injury Update on Stretch Forward Cameron Johnson

With respect to Lundberg, Johnson’s health update remains the far more pressing matter. He resembles a top-tier sixth man right now, certain to see big minutes off the bench once the postseason tips off.

During today’s practice though, we heard some good, but not great news about Johnson.

This morning, the Suns made Johnson available to speak to the media after practice—something they normally only do when said player is nearing a return from the injured list. Johnson indeed spoke with reporters—an act which in itself hinted that his return will be sooner rather than later.

However, when Johnson did speak, he made it sound highly unlikely that he will suit up against the Golden State Warriors tomorrow evening, as some had hoped based on his media availability. Although Johnson did not officially rule himself out tomorrow, he sounded like someone still focused on healing up rather than making an actual return.

“I’m getting there, just trying to move and just gain some comfort with movement, that’s really the goal today,” said Johnson. “Cardio and comfort with movement, and just trying to find a little flow with that, taking some contact and that sort of thing.”

Johnson then called the process of removing the swelling in his leg a “gradual process” and one that is “probably still ongoing.” Monty Williams also neglected to offer an official return date for him.

So although one can still feel confident that Johnson can and will return before the postseason begins, those hoping to see him play this week will likely be disappointed. He is officially listed as doubtful for the Golden State game as well.

But regardless, this is likely for the better. These next few games for the Suns carry very little meaning with the top seed already locked up, making this cautious approach with Johnson well warranted.

Iffe Lundberg gets some Shots Up at Phoenix Suns Practice

Having inked a two-way deal with the Suns, Lundberg remains ineligible to play for Phoenix during the postseason this year, making him a less crucial piece to get on the floor than Johnson. However, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski previously calling him the “best international free agent available in the market,” one cannot help but feel a bit anxious to see what he can do.

At practice today though, we caught a quick glimpse of him while he worked out with Johnson in what appeared to be some variation of a one-on-one/shooting drill.

Wearing a black t-shirt, you see Lundberg take his turn with the drill about halfway through the video below. Although Lundberg did well to stay in front of Johnson while first playing the defensive role for the drill, the offensive skills he displayed after looked far more exciting.

After first knocking down a triple, Lundberg goes after Ish Wainright with a mean, quick crossover. That allows him to create space and sneak in a right handed layup. Then on his next turn, Lundberg scores on Aaron Holiday, first absorbing some contact before again sneaking in a right-handed layup, much like Rajon Rondo used to do during his days with the Boston Celtics.

You never want to go crazy over a one minute snippet from practice, especially one featuring a player only available for seven more games this year. But purely from a basketball entertainment standpoint, Lundberg still strikes as a fun, crafty asset on the Suns keep an eye out for.

Especially with Phoenix likely to cut down minutes for their key guys over these next two weeks to prepare for the postseason, Lundberg might find some run time and further display these slick moves.

dark. Next. Predicting the Suns Playoff Rotation

At the very least though, he promises to provide Phoenix fans with some entertainment during garbage time minutes. With the Suns scheduled to play the underwhelming Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers next week before hosting the Sacramento Kings a few days later, he might even earn double digit minutes depending on how things go.