The Phoenix Suns appear destined to have four players in ESPN’s top 100 player rankings, but the omission of forward Cameron Johnson is sure to raise some eyebrows. The 26-year-old finished third in Sixth Man of the Year voting last season, yet apparently that wasn’t enough to grab the attention of ESPN writers.
The list contains a plethora of names who you’d argue should make way for Johnson, especially when factoring in their relative roles, statistics and accomplishments.
Phoenix Suns Cameron Johnson could consider himself the unluckiest player to miss out on a spot in ESPN’s 100 player rankings.
Here are five players who were unfairly ranked above Johnson in ESPN’s rankings. For comparison’s sake, we’ve tried to include players who play a similar position.
Grant Williams (99th)
Like Johnson, Williams plays a backup forward role primarily as a spot up shooter for the Boston Celtics. The simple equation here, and the preface of what the rankings should articulare, is which player would you rather?
Johnson played less than two minutes more than Williams per game, yet easily averaged more points, rebounds, assists and steals. Williams may be the better defender and have more upside, but Johnson is the better player for now.
It seems Williams’ match-winning 27-point game seven display against the Milwaukee Bucks remains imprinted in people’s minds, even if the remainder of his playoffs were largely underwhelming.
Mitchell Robinson (98th)
Okay, Johnson and Robinson don’t play the same position, but this was too egregious not to include. Robinson has talent but has often struggled with injury throughout his four-year career. He’s a quality rim protector for sure, but that hasn’t translated to winning value like Johnson’s provided with the Suns.
Keegan Murray (95th)
Will Murray end up being better than Johnson, even as early as next year? Yes, most likely. However, he’s yet to play an NBA game and if you asked teams who they’d prefer simply for one solitary 2022-23 season, I think you’d find Johnson to be the answer.
Brandon Clarke (94th)
This is debatable no doubt, particularly given both play a similar amount and produce the same offensive output. Clarke is more of a traditional power-forward who can double as a small-ball center, plying his trade around the rim with athletic finishes and skillful floaters. If you asked organizations who they’d prefer on their roster, Johnson’s more modern style likely fits into a larger portion of teams.
Aaron Gordon (83rd)
Gordon is the highest ranked of these five players, and probably the most contentious player to compare with Johnson. Their per 36 minute statistics are fairly similar, with Johnson holding the better shooting capacity and Gordon being able to do more at the rim due to his increased athleticism.
With Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. returning to the Denver Nuggets this season, both players will fill the role of fourth or fifth offensive options on their respective teams. In that situation, I think most would prefer the player who’s nearly 10% more likely to hit a three-point shot.
Gordon may be a better defender but that’s always been a disappointing an underwhelming part of his game, while neither should be relied upon heavily as primary playmakers or shot creators