Cameron Johnson of the Phoenix Suns has been quietly working on his offensive game by improving in other areas of the floor other than behind the 3-point line. The shot attempts from beyond the arc are still seeing about the same consistency in the Sun’s last 14 games with a 12-2 record but have dipped in volume e a little.
When the Suns were in a six game slump dealing with Devin Booker’s injury and the first team offense trying to find its flow, Johnson was jacking up 6.3 3-point attempts per game and shooting only 28.9% from three. Going along with 37.5% from the field while starting five of the six games, it may have been too much pressure too soon for the second year player.
Cam becoming a starting piece in the future for the Suns is not out of the question. His defense shows potential and glimpses of a more all-around offensive game may begin to show more confidently and consistently by years end.
During the latest 12-2 run, while started four of the 14 games, Cam has been shooting 37% from three and 42% from the field. A little more improved, but if you watch him play, you can see he’s focusing more on driving to counter the hard close-out from a defender.
Here is an example of “good Cam” from very early season where he uses the threat of the three to open up driving lanes for himself heading to the basket.
He scored 21 points in this game in a variety of ways. Unfortunately, he’s not always so sure of what he’s going to do once he puts the ball on the floor.
Hesitation and a little bit of a hitch in uncomfortable situations in Cam’s shot sometimes shows that maybe he isn’t in the mood to be just a spot up 3-point shooter. I am unable to show frustration now with his misses because to me it means he is twisting himself out of the cocoon and is ready to explore more in his game.
Right now may be the best opportunity for him to work on the pump fake and drive or even taking defenders off the dribble, using his size and getting to the basket. This Suns team has the depth and experience to back up a few mistakes here and there as long as Cam is learning. That of course is not the purpose for his minutes, but like Deandre Ayton there is little room to learn on this team. Unlike the years when Booker was working on his game while the team was losing, Cam has the opposite approach, in learning from actual veterans who can teach, like Jae Crowder.
I have commented on Ayton and maybe not having the time to learn this year with the Suns, but that is because he needs to be ready to play every night. It helps that Cam is producing of course, but we also have Dario Saric and Crowder who have been staggering good games for the Suns throughout the season.
Cam will always find his way open from three, but when the defenders start to close, the addition of the pump fake will free him of being one dimensional with the 3-point shot. You can tell from his body momentum pressing forward towards the basket that he has more in store.
It is all about the decision to move to the basket or to shoot. Players in the league like Booker have the ability to spend time with the ball in their hands while painting a picture of the play in front of them. But players like Cam and Ayton need to be decisive. Cam has the advantage over any defender right now without much of a game plan to stop him.
Opposing teams game plan for Cam: He shoots the three.
Some games will still be an all out 3-point effort by Cam and other nights we will see the cutting, driving, and finishes around the rim, working from the inside out. The Suns are learning together and individually with blow-out wins giving the young players confidence to improve in other areas.