With Jordan Goodwin coming over in the Bradley Beal trade and the potential for a pair of free agents returning to the Phoenix Suns, they added even more defense to the supporting cast through the 52nd pick of the NBA Draft with Dayton’s Toumani Camara.
Athletics Sam Vecenie covers these things better than anyone and ranked Camara 67th overall, which paints a fairly simple picture of what the 23-year-old out of Belgium is as a prospect.
It’s easy to sell yourself on a 6-foot-7 shoeless player who has a 7-foot wingspan and plays solid, shifty defense. In today’s NBA, there is perhaps no easier type of player to sell yourself on. Camara is certainly worth a two-way flier given his frame, defense and potential to shoot it.
Vecenie sizes Camara up as someone with “essentially a perfect frame” for the modern 4.
The idea of the position in the direction the game is going starts with the basic foundation of being able to guard multiple positions as a shifty defender and rebounder. Camara has got it down. In his defensive clips, you can see Camara’s ability to not only defend by pushing his feet, but also use his chest after that. It’s a bonus when strong athletes know how to use their physical attributes in a basketball sense.
If Camara gets time to fill up on two feet and block shots, the guy can rise with that length. You can imagine how an athlete like this in the A-10 racked up some impressive highlights.
Standing at 6’8 with a 7’0.5 wingspan, Toumani Camara is a lockdown defender capable of guarding almost any spot on the court and any position. Good help page blocking, and can easily lock drives pic.twitter.com/MVwg429Jbn
— Mavs/Magic Draft (@MavsDraft) 7 May 2023
Here’s an offensive highlight of that explosiveness. It’s not a fast dynamic by any means, but give him a few steps and he’ll take off. Beware!
— Dayton Basketball (@DaytonMBB) 11 January 2023
In the rebounding department, Camara averaged 7.7 a game across his final three years in college, including over two a game on the offensive glass.
The final box to check is that the jumper must be a consistent positive contributor at the position. Vecenie notes that the 36.3% from 3-point range for Camara this year was an increase coming off a 30.3% mark the previous two seasons combined. Free throw shooting numbers can also serve as a fairly reliable indicator, and Camara’s career mark over four years was a worrying 63.1%.
The left wing has a fairly even movement all things considered.
— Dayton Basketball (@DaytonMBB) 25 February 2023
— Dayton Basketball (@DaytonMBB) 1 March 2023
Ultimately, that will change his chances of making an immediate impact. The other areas of the floor are not too promising. Vecenie brings up Camara’s negative assist-to-turnover ratio and how the slashing utility is “essentially a linear driver without a ton of first-step burst.” But it’s okay. The other skills are far more important to his overall profile.
Camara, according to Vecenie, stood out at the Portsmouth Invitational, a secondary NBA Draft Combine of sorts where smaller prospects go to be evaluated in a group context. Camara was enough of a standout that he was later invited to the combine itself. It is always positive.
Given the first impression that Vecenie and the video paint, Camara’s adaptability when it comes to picking up NBA defenses will be the biggest thing for him. If concepts and schemes come naturally to him, he’s definitely shown the talent level on that end to be useful to a defense, especially with his rebounding. Add in an average 3-point shot and you have a rotation piece.
Knowing that now, it’s a pretty logical pick at this point in the draft, all around. Vecenie ended it well on Camara.
If you’re looking to invest in a draft prospect that can help you sooner rather than later if the shot comes through, Camara is a good one to take a flier on.
That’s what the Suns are looking for. After the Beal and Kevin Durant trades, their ability to add more players this offseason comes down to potentially dealing Deandre Ayton, using a $5 million trade exception, signing free agents to the veteran minimum and adding two-way contracts. Landing a second-round pick would be a huge swing.
On the current roster, Camara is the only other wing besides Durant. Ish Wainright’s team option will likely be picked up, and the Suns have Bird rights to keep Torrey Craig. They also probably want Josh Okogie back. It’s four defensive-minded wings off the bench as the identity of the team under head coach Frank Vogel continues to take shape.