Things were a little confusing on Thursday night as the Phoenix Suns made their first and only selection in the 2023 NBA Draft. With the 52nd pick, the Suns chose Toumani Camara, a forward from the University of Dayton.
At least, that’s what the majority of us assumed. ESPN, however, indicated that the draft rights will go to Washington, presumably as a result of the Bradley Beal deal.
UPDATE: The ESPN broadcast is wrong. Can confirm Toumani Camara was drafted by the Suns at #52. It was NOT part of the Bradley Beal trade.— Cameron Cox (@CamCox12) June 23, 2023
There was some back-and-forth, and even Shams recanted a tweet stating that Camara would be a Wizard. It was shortly sorted out and confirmed: Toumani Camara is a Phoenix Sun.
Clarity here: Toumani Camara will be with the Suns. Phoenix targeted and selected him tonight. The pick was not part of the Bradley Beal trade. https://t.co/zTMbIos1mh— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 23, 2023
Well, that was an interesting experience. We wait all night for #52, and there’s miscommunicated graphics? Only in the Valley, baby.
Toumani, a 6’8’’ and 220 pound forward from Brussels, Belgium, is an athletic forward that the Suns will appreciate, especially at his price. He provides lockdown defense and solid rebounding. With a 7’1” wingspan, he’ll be someone the Frank Vogel’s staff will surely attempt to mold into a defensive rotational player. In time.
Camara is a four-year starter – a.k.a. the “James Jones special” – who spent his first two seasons playing at the University of Georgia. He transferred to play with the Dayton Flyers after his sophomore year with the Bulldogs in 2021, and in his senior year, he averaged 13.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 36.3% from beyond the arc.
Highlights? But of course.
Per The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor’s NBA Draft Guide:
Versatile offensive role player capable of playing in an inverted scheme because he’s such an attentive cutter, willing screener, and savvy player. In a condensed role, he’d have intriguing upside playing like a big out of short rolls.
Skilled finisher who’s comfortable at the rim with either hand. He can also dunk with ease without needing much time or space.
Improving shooter who made 40.4 percent of his 89 open catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts over two seasons with Dayton, per Synergy. However, he shot just 25.5 percent on 47 attempts when guarded, which raises questions about his true ability.
Well-rounded defender and rebounder for his position. He’s smart, he’s tough, and he has good instincts. In a switch-heavy scheme, he’d thrive, since he’s capable of both tracking shooters off screens and battling stronger players.
Elementary ball handler who shouldn’t be asked to do much creation. He accordingly doesn’t have much midrange game with pull-ups and floaters.
Negative assist-to-turnover ratio. Dayton asked him to do more as a decision-maker than he’ll need to do in the NBA though.
Who did KOC state was his NBA comp? Torrey Craig.
While he wasn’t high on many notable draft boards, his addition will certainly assist the Suns in filling out the roster. Expect him to be the guy at the end of the bench. We’re looking forward to seeing him when he plays in Summer League, which begins July 7 in Las Vegas.