Minnesota originally owned the 11th pick but sought to move up to find their own point guard of the future, and after clearing cap space with another deal Thursday to get off T.J. Warren’s contract, the Suns appear to have decided on using free agency to get their point guard of the future and went with Johnson as a potential scoring forward off the bench.
In addition, the Suns grabbed Dario Saric as a young flier at the power forward spot, giving them a 2019-20 starter in addition to Johnson at No. 11. Certainly it feels like picking Johnson, who was not invited to the green room for the draft by ESPN, is a reach.
Johnson was thought by many to be picked in the 20s by a team that needed NBA-ready bench shooting, as he is already 23 and was the best three-point shooter in college basketball last year at 46 percent.
It seems new SVP Jeff Bower played a big role in scouting and selecting Johnson.
Phoenix VP of Basketball Operations Jeff Bower had Cam Johnson on campus for a recruiting visit in his one season as head coach at Marist College. A week later, Pitt offered him and Bower lost him to the ACC. Five years later, Bower gets Johnson on his team with 11th pick.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 21, 2019
And the league is just as surprised as you might have been watching the draft on your couch.
The Suns made the first truly shocking move of the night, by reaching significantly for the oldest player in the draft in Cameron Johnson. Johnson was not one of the 24 players invited to sit in the NBA Draft Green Room, and there was some talk that he may fall to the 2nd round.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 21, 2019
Johnson will improve the Suns’ floor-spacing considerably and will be able to get on the court right away, but it remains to be seen whether the Suns actually needed to pull the trigger at No. 11 to get him or could have gotten him later, even all the way down at No. 32, the pick they gave up to move off of Warren’s salary.