Booker’s “Spoiled” Suns comments aren’t an insult

Phoenix Suns Devin Booker (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns Devin Booker (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker made headlines with his post-game comments following the team’s blowout loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, don’t look too deep into them.

I am never one to over-analyze anything a player says. If you dig too deep into comments, you can find yourself engrossed inside a story that doesn’t even exist. Most of the time the story is found on the surface.

Devin made a lot of comments about the team during his media session after Tuesday night’s loss to the Cavs. None of them should be taken to mean anything other than what he explicitly said.

"“Right now is an evaluation period for us.”"

This is something everyone already knows. They are coming to the end of the season, so right now the team needs to take a good look at everyone they have and figure out what role they each can play moving forward.

This is a young team. Every game is a learning experience and every game gives the young players a chance to figure out what type of player they are going to be in this league. It is a time of growth, so it’s going to be hard. The remainder of the season is all about development and looking at what they have and what they need.

The problematic part was what he continued on to say.

"“We know that [evaluation period] as a team, and we’re not treating it like that.”"

This is a time for the guys on this roster to show what they’re capable of. They should be playing their hearts out every night so that they can show some form of progress.

Obviously it is hard to not get deflated when a bunch of young players are being blown out by an established team like the Spurs or the Cavs, but they need to find a way to stay locked in. It is the only way to gauge what this team can actually be capable of.

"“Our team has been spoiled enough…with playing time at a young age to where we get to play through mistakes. Sometimes there’s punishment, sometimes there’s not.”"

These comments in particular are the ones that made headlines. But he’s really not saying anything other than what we already know. He just uses words that I don’t think have been used to describe this Suns team before.

I know some people are reading these words and taking it to be an insult to management, but I really don’t think it is.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

Take a look at this team and what do you see? A bunch of one-and-dones who are still learning basketball and only two players over the age of 26. The core of this team is young and not very established yet, we know that.

Why are they getting playing time at a young age? Why do they have the opportunity to play through mistakes? Because all the Suns have are young players that are going to make mistakes. This is circumstantial, not an insult. Devin is just telling it as it is.

These young players are “spoiled” because they get to play so many minutes each game. They are “spoiled” because they get to make mistakes and play through them. This is the circumstance this team finds themselves in. It is a blessing and a curse.

Not many young players get to come into this league of men and get so much playing time right from the start. Most of those guys have to earn it. But when there are so many young players on a team, earning that playing time isn’t as difficult.

There aren’t five or six seasoned vets that can come off the bench and take minutes away from Bender, Chriss, Jackson, or even Booker if one of them makes a costly mistake. There are just more young players, who are more likely than not going to make those same mistakes.

That, of course, is the curse of having a team with so many young players. They’re all still trying to figure out who they are going to be in this league, and they are all still trying to learn basketball.

But, at the same time, if this team did have five or six seasoned vets, some of these younger players may not be getting such a big opportunity to grow. Because Devin got the opportunity to play so much his rookie season the Suns were able to see how much talent he had. He was able to expedite his progress and show the Suns exactly how much value he has.

We’re getting to see the same thing with Josh Jackson this season. He’s been given the opportunity to play and grow and he’s making progress. He’s able to show the Suns that he, too, is a valuable piece for the future.

So, yes, Devin is right. The Suns are spoiled. All of these young players are getting the opportunity of a lifetime. They’re getting to play a major amount of minutes in NBA games, and they need to take advantage of it. All of this is just due to the makeup of this roster. This team is young and rebuilding.

Next: The Suns' next All-Star tandem: Devin Booker and Josh Jackson

But, I think the biggest takeaway from all of this is that two veteran players on this team aren’t enough. Jared Dudley and Tyson Chandler are so important to the future of this team because they act as mentors and hold players accountable now.  More young players aren’t going to push an already young team to be better the same way seasoned players would.

With a more established leadership presence in the locker room and on the court, maybe the Suns won’t be as spoiled.