Phoenix Suns: Predicting player stats for 2022-23 – Cameron Johnson

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

Across September, Valley of the Suns will deliver predicted stat lines for all 16 players currently contracted to the Phoenix Suns for the 2022-23 season.

After a career-best season in 2021-22, Cameron Johnson is set to continue an evolving NBA career. With speculation surrounding fellow forward Jae Crowder, and the team yet to acquire an alternative via trade, the path appears set for Johnson to become the Phoenix Suns starting four.

The 26-year-old finished third in Sixth Man of the Year voting last season, shooting an incredible 42.5% from three on nearly six attempts per game.

The Phoenix Suns improvement is predicated on the likes of Cameron Johnson, with the fourth-year man primed for another individual jump.

While Johnson’s shooting is already at an elite level, there’s upside to be unearthed in almost every other aspect of his game. The defensive end, in particular, is a facet he’ll need to improve as he prepares to take Crowder’s role in the starting lineup.

Johnson was seventh at the Suns for defensive win shares last season, and 11th in defensive box plus-minus. Although Mikal Bridges is always going to be the Suns primary matchup for opposition forwards, Johnson needs to become a more competent individual defender.

Offensively, Johnson has much more to give than just a pure shooter. Over 85% of his made field-goals were assisted last season, with individual growth certainly possible. The opportunities to do that may remain limited though as All-Star guards Chris Paul and Devin Booker continue to hold high usage rates. How this manifests, in the forefront of a contract year (should he not sign an extension), will be a fascinating storyline of the Suns season.

It may be unrealistic to expect another monumental jump. While Johnson will likely get the chance as a starter, there’s also the possibility that he proves more effective back in a sixth man role. As a pure shooter who still needs to work on his playmaking, shot creation and defense, how much value will Johnson hold as the fifth option in a starting unit?

Next. Phoenix Suns: Predicting player stats for 2022-23 – Jae Crowder. dark

It could just as easily work the other way – being around other offensive options more often could see him garner even better open looks. The five-man unit of Johnson, Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton was highly productive in limited minutes last season, and fans should expect that to continue in 2022-23.

Predicted statistical averages – 29.5 minutes, 14.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.3 blocks, 0.9 turnovers, 42.1% FG, 35.8% 3PT