Complaining about the Suns is one of my many talents. Being a Suns fan has taught me to expect for the worst possible outcome in every situation. Understandably, when I first heard that the Suns had traded from the sixth pick to the eleventh only getting one season of Dario Šarićin return, I was fuming with anger.
With the eleventh overall pick of the 2019 draft, the Suns selected 23-year-old small forward Cam Johnson out of UNC, shocking the NBA community. Johnson, who wasn’t even present at the draft, was expected to be drafted in the late-first to mid-second. As any basketball fan knows, players projected this late rarely pan out.
Yet, against all of my Suns instincts, I found myself excited to have Johnsons on the roster. Sure, he is 23 coming off an offseason hip surgery amongst many other injury concerns, but underneath it lies a 6’9" scorer with great character. He was one of my favorites coming into the draft.
Cam Johnson took 162 NBA-range threes in college making 46.3% of them, and may very well be the next generational shooter. In fact, many would argue that he is the best shooter in the draft, boasting an efficient 60.1% true shooting percentage, 57% shooting from mid-range, and a 40.5% from outside the arc. For comparison, Klay Thompson shot 39% in 620 attempts throughout his career. Johnson shot 40.5% in 639 attempts.
His senior seasons was undoubtedly his best. As a senior, Johnson was the leading scorer for the Tar Heels who would achieve the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. He averaged 16.9 points per game while shooting 45.7 percent from 3-point range. Defensively Johnson seemed active and showed great hustle his senior season, likely a result of finally being able to stay in good health.
Another major concern was Johnson’s athleticism. Johnson has a lanky frame and limited fluidity for a player of his height. However, while lacking speed and explosion off the dribble, Johnson has the skillsets to become a valuable three and D role-player. Should he bulk up upon entering the developmental stage in the NBA, Johnson could transform into a multi-threat scorer with good defensive tendencies.
Johnson is a guy that’s ready to play. At 6 foot 9 Johnson has the ability to shoot over defenders, making him an immediate scoring threat outside for a team that only had three players shoot the three above 35%. While his age makes him one of the oldest players on the young Suns roster, this could be exactly what the team needs—an immediate role-player and leader.