Cameron Johnson's 2019 NBA Draft Scouting Report: Analysis of Suns Pick

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterJune 21, 2019

North Carolina guard Cameron Johnson gestures after scoring during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Miami on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

The Phoenix Suns have selected Cameron Johnson with the No. 11 pick of the 2019 NBA draft. Phoenix acquired this pick in a trade earlier today from the Minnesota Timberwolves that also sent forward Dario Saric to the Suns.

Though Johnson is already 23 years old, it became too easy to picture him knocking down jumpers in the league. Even if his upside doesn't pop, his fit and purpose for today's game do.


Quick hitters

Size: 6'8½"

Weight: 205.2 pounds

Wingspan: 6'10"

Reach: 8'7"

Pro comparison: Doug McDermott


Offensive strengths

Johnson's identity revolves around shot-making off the catch. He shot 47.4 percent out of spot-ups (97th percentile) and 55.2 percent off screens (97th percentile). He buried 96 threes in 36 games at a 45.7 percent clip. Johnson has a smooth, effortless stroke, and his shot-preparation is picture perfect, as he uses textbook footwork to gather and rise with balance. An efficient scorer (16.9 points, 64.8 true shooting percentage) and low-usage player (21.8 percent), Johnson shouldn't have trouble fitting in.


Offensive weaknesses

Johnson isn't a strong creator, having generated 37 points on a combined 49 isolation and pick-and-roll ball-handling possessions. He lacks burst off the dribble and explosiveness and strength around the basket. Despite being known for his shooting, he was only 14-of-38 on pull-ups. He made just two runners all season, a reflection of his limited in-between scoring game.


Defensive outlook

Johnson has good size for a wing, but he'll have a bullseye on his chest against stronger forwards. Matching him up with a 4 isn't recommended. In terms of one-on-one coverage, his defensive upside isn't high. But he does have a high basketball IQ and the potential to become a reliable team defender.


Rookie-year projection

Johnson will turn 24 during his rookie season, and given his positional height, shot-making skill and maturity, he's a good bet to crack the rotation in 2019-20. He'll be used mostly as a floor-spacer and shooter, but he should be able to come right in and hit jump shots, both in transition and half-court sets.


Projected role: Shot-making specialist

Johnson should carve out a career as a role-playing shot-maker who can score without needing dribbles. He'll play the same role as a veteran as he does his rookie season. He'll work strictly off the ball to pick up baskets by cutting, spotting up, running off screens and leaking out in transition.


Stats courtesy of Synergy Sports and Sports Reference.