Devin Booker will carry the Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns Devin Booker (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns Devin Booker (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Devin Booker continues to prove how importance he is to the Phoenix Suns, and he will have to carry the team for them to win more games.

The Phoenix Suns are off to a 1-7 start, but there’s no doubt they’re better than they’ve played so far. After Devin Booker missed three games, he returned against the Toronto Raptors for another loss. It wasn’t the same though. After the Suns were uncompetitive in all three games he missed, Booker returned and the team lost by single digits after hanging in against a team they were supposed to lose to.

Booker wasn’t amazing against Toronto. He has just 18 points, which is well below his average, and he shot poorly from the field, going 8-20 and 2-7 from 3. But even without a great game in the box score, Booker’s mere presence was a factor. He can do it all offensively, and other teams have to account for that, freeing up everyone else on the team.

Deandre Ayton has the makings of a great NBA center, but as of right now, he’s not one. His defense isn’t there yet. Offensively, there isn’t much he can’t do, and he’s tremendously efficient, but he’s shown he’s not yet aggressive enough to carry the scoring load for the team when Booker is out. Devin Booker’s scoring (and threat to score) is critical to the Suns’ success.

It also helped the Suns went with a better rotation. Jamal Crawford and Tyson Chandler played just three minutes combined, yielding more minutes to Richaun Holmes, Elie Okobo, and Mikal Bridges. The young players need to get as many minutes as possibly, and hopefully as the season goes on they start to bite further into the minutes of other veterans like Ryan Anderson and Trevor Ariza.

But more than anything, the return of Devin Booker sparked the Phoenix Suns best game since opening night. It’s hard to say how many wins the Suns will have this season. Theoretically they’ll win more than last season’s 21 since the team is improved, but they’re not on pace to do so. If they do win more games, it’ll probably be due to a hot stretch later in the year.

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But whatever happens with the Suns this season, it’ll come down to how far Booker can carry them. Against Toronto, he carried them to a competitive game against a championship contender. But there should also be plenty of games when he carries them to wins, like on opening night against the Dallas Mavericks. If anyone forgot, Booker quickly reminded us how key he is to this team’s success.