Phoenix Suns: What’s next for Cameron Johnson?

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

Cam Johnson’s shooting could prove of vital importance to an ageing Chris Paul.

It’s important for the Suns to decrease Chris Paul’s offensive load as he enters his age 38 season. Giving him multiple perimeter threats is a great way to diversify and raise the Suns offensive ceiling, especially since it’s unreasonable to expect Paul to become an off-ball maestro in his 18th season.

Alongside Booker and Mikal Bridges, Johnson strengthens the rotation of perimeter threats around Paul, who’s very ball-dominant. Deandre Ayton might also be utilized more as a screener for shooters (as opposed to the ball-handler), and as a short-roll playmaker.

Naturally, there would be some defensive drop-off in going from Crowder to Johnson, but the offensive trade off might be worth it. Crowder’s presence wasn’t exactly carrying Phoenix’s defense either; that end of the ball should largely be handled by Ayton as the anchor and Bridges as the primary on-ball defender. As long as Paul, Booker, and Johnson aren’t easily attacked as weak links, the defense should be fine.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

Johnson shot 42.5% from deep last season (fourth in NBA) on 5.9 attempts per game. If he were to start and receive more minutes and shot attempts, that added value from beyond the arc would make a major impact. Johnson would also go from often being the team’s primary scoring option on the court at certain times to being a fourth or fifth option next to the starters, allowing his looks to be easier.

While he’s not great at pull-ups (only shot 29%), he just needs to play an off-ball role and get himself open, where he drains 43% of his catch-and-shoot attempts (46% from the corner). Basketball Index grades his three-point shot making (accounts for both accuracy and difficulty of shots) in the 97th percentile, which makes him too great of a weapon to keep on the sideline.