I’ll use Kevin Johnson as an example of why this is neither a negative of Booker and his game and why it’s not the worst thing in the world at all if this hypothesis is true:
While KJ only missed a total of 18 games over the first five seasons of his career, beginning with his sixth season (1992-93), his missed more and more, and over the four years of the Charles Barkley era, KJ missed 109 total games, an average of 27.25 a season.
Even so, Kevin Johnson was a star.
Not only was he a three-time All-Star but also a five-time All-NBA recipient.
Heck, he was called a superstar around the league during his prime and was thought to be the centerpiece of a Charles Barkley to Phoenix trade in 1992 – a shock to many that he wasn’t moved in that deal.
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Even with such hype, in his four years before Barkley, Tom Chambers was still the franchise centerpiece, and then of course so too was Sir Charles from 1992-96.
In the aforementioned Barkley years, Phoenix went a blistering 148-71 with KJ on the court (a 67.6% win percentage) but the team still managed a fantastic 70-39 (64.2%) whenever he was out.
As great as Johnson was, in those games that he missed, Barkley was still able to carry Phoenix to not much of a win percentage drop-off (obviously Barkley did not play all 82 games in any of his four seasons with the Suns and I do not have the numbers that show how many games they both missed at the same time, but there was rarely much of an overlap).
Furthermore, if you exclude the 1995-96 season when Dan Majerle was traded for Hot Rod WIlliams, the core was constantly injured, Paul Westphal was fired, and Cotton Fitzsimmons took over midway through the year, the Suns had a 72.4% win percentage with KJ on the court in the pair’s first three years together, and a 71.1% win percentage with him out – only a 1.3% drop off.
This isn’t to say that KJ wasn’t great because of the lack of a drop-off in win percentage, he was!
I would argue that if injuries didn’t end his career early (he retired at 31) and had played into his late 30s like Jason Kidd was able to, he would absolutely join J-Kidd in the Hall of Fame making the years they played together that much more special to history!
But it is perfectly evident that it was Chambers and Barkley who were carrying those Suns teams, with Kevin Johnson making for the perfect compliment and 1-B on star-studded rosters.