It’s time for the Phoenix Suns to commit to Point Booker

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

Devin Booker has been the Phoenix Suns’ primary creator this season, and it’s time to commit to him as the long term point guard.

There are long term reasons for the Phoenix Suns to avoid Point Booker. While he’s played well at the point, his more natural fit has always been as an off-ball guard. And it’s a lot easier to find an off-ball guard than a primary initiator, so the team would benefit from Devin Booker getting comfortable in his off-ball role. But there’s one big reason for the Suns to commit to Booker at the point: he’s playing point guard anyway.

Booker has shown he’s more than capable as an initiator, increasing his assists per game from 4.7 last season to 7.3 this season. And his scoring has barely taken a hit, going from 24.9 points to 24.1 points per game, even with a nagging hamstring injury. Committing to Booker as the point guard would limit Isaiah Canaan‘s minutes, which would be ideal considering he’s been a negative on both ends of the floor.

Canaan has played in 17 of the Suns 18 games, and he’s started 15 of them, playing 27.2 minutes per game. But against the Milwaukee Bucks, Canaan played just 16 minutes, and the Suns pulled off a huge upset over one of the league’s best teams on the road. Booker had 29 points and 7 assists.

By giving Canaan less playing time and shifting Booker to the point, which he’s effectively been playing anyway, the Suns free up minutes for Mikal Bridges, a young, effective two-way player. Last night, despite a weak night in the box score, Bridges was a plus 7 in 24 minutes, slightly above his average of 20.7.

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In an ideal world, the Phoenix Suns give Elie Okobo and De’Anthony Melton minutes at the point, allowing the young guys to grow their fit next to Devin Booker, with Booker playing primarily off the ball. But in a realistic world in which Igor Kokoskov refuses to play either of those guys, the best case scenario for the Suns would be for Devin Booker to play point guard.