The Phoenix Suns’ worst kept offseason secret has been made official; fourth-year man Cameron Johnson is their new starting power-forward.
Although it may have been a key reason in Jae Crowder’s trade request, this was ultimately a decision that had to be made. Johnson’s rising form last season, along with Crowder’s slight decline, made it an obvious change heading into the new season.
With Cameron Johnson officially announced as the Phoenix Suns starting power-forward, there’s plenty of reason for excitement heading into the 2022-23 season.
Phoenix head coach Monty Williams confirmed the news on Thursday, following news of Crowder’s trade request over the last week.
As Johnson’s elite shooting becomes a more permanent fixture, here are three reasons to get excited for this newest version of the Suns starting lineup:
Chris Paul may be entering the season at 37 years of age, but outside of him, the Suns remaining four starters are 26 or under. Retaining their current core and believing in internal development has been the theme of the offseason; with this starting lineup, we’ll finally see how that ambition plays out on the floor.
2. Home-grown team
It may not be the biggest factor, but watching players develop at their original teams does invoke an extra sense of pride among fans. Again, outside Paul, Phoenix have acquired the other four through the draft or in draft night trades.
Would it have been nice to give some of that up for Kevin Durant during the offseason? Perhaps. But rest assured that if the Suns win a championship with this current squad, it’ll feel all the more sweeter for everyone involved.
3. Limited history
The above two aspects are nice, but most lottery teams could lay claim to having them. From a short-term standpoint initially, the threat of this five-man unit should excite Suns fans.
The group played together for just 42 minutes last regular season, combining for an impressive net rating of +29.5. They then played 24 minutes together during the playoffs, recording a ridiculous +41.5 in net rating.
While those numbers clearly won’t sustain over a longer period, it shows the dynamic threat they possess as Phoenix aspire to take an extra step this season.