Devin Booker is by far the best player on the Phoenix Suns. But he needs help. BAD.
The Phoenix Suns had a shot at upending the Boston Celtics on November 8, when they had the C’s against the wall up 17 points with only about half the fourth quarter remaining.
But when the superior Celtics came charging back, Devin Booker relied on himself for the most part to attempt to carry his team over the hump, finally failing to pull of the late-game heroics in overtime that we have all grown accustomed to.
Some fans though were upset that he took full possession of the offense, and even when his shots stopped falling, he essentially refused to pass the ball.
Who can blame Booker for being selfish even while he bricking shots? Who has proven to be helpful on offense on a consistent basis?
I have stated in the recent past that Deandre Ayton needs to be averaging at or above 20 shot attempts per game, which in and of itself will help the Suns offensively as he scores at a much more efficient rate than most players – especially shooters (59.1% thus far this season).
At the end of the game when Boston was making their run and the Suns (including Isaiah Canaan) were bricking their shots, dumping the ball into Ayton and letting him get to work would have slowed the game down, taking the Celtics out of the fast-paced tempo they had suddenly picked up after every Suns missed shot.
But since Phoenix doesn’t seem to be willing to do that yet, and Ayton hasn’t asserted himself as a dominant scoring option just yet (although we are all waiting on baited breath for that to finally happen), no one else on the roster (aside from T.J. Warren) is a viable player in those waning moments.
I will speak to Warren though, as he is a good scorer and would be the kind of player who could be that clutch player in the last few moments of a game that Booker should be able to count on. However, Warren, like Ayton, has never really asserted himself in this manner.
In the end, what this all speaks to is less about Booker’s selfishness late in the Boston game, and more to the fact that he doesn’t seem to trust his teammates in those situations.
Can we blame him?
Granted the Suns are rarely in tight games late and more often than not Booker has been able to come through in the clutch.
But when his shots aren’t falling, he needs to be able to defer to someone else and allow them to take over in the clutch. Doing so will not only take some of the offensive pressure off of Book, but as the defense shifts to the other scorer, they will be forced to lag off of Booker allowing him to get open easier and still remain effective in those situation.
Most of the time too defenses won’t trust that the offense will flow away from Booker for the duration of a game and still focus two players in his general direction even when he is off the ball, which should then allow for the other scorer to play more one-on-one.
If/when T.J. Warren and Deandre Ayton become those scorers who cannot be ignored and can be trusted with the offense in the clutch, Devin Booker will find the offensive going to be much easier late in games.
And if the Suns are ultimately able to acquire another above-average scorer whether it be via trade or free agency, late game scoring issues might finally then begin to entirely fade away.