Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker should play the two when he returns

Phoenix Suns Devin Booker (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns Devin Booker (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

When Devin Booker returns, the Phoenix Suns will have to decide whether he will play point guard. They should opt to play him at the two instead.

The Devin Booker point guard experiment worked out about as well as the Phoenix Suns could have hoped. Booker showed off his passing ability to the tune of 6.7 assists per game, and he was still able to keep his scoring at 23.5 points per game. Without the nagging hamstring injury, it’s reasonable to think his scoring numbers would have been even higher.

But eventually his hamstring became too much to play through, and as a result, he’s played just 19 of the Suns’ 29 games this season, including sitting out the last six. In that time, De’Anthony Melton has gotten an opportunity for increased playing time, averaging 27 minutes per contest.

Although the Suns as a team are 1-5 and a minus 75 in those six games, Melton is personally a plus 3. By comparison, Deandre Ayton is also playing 27 minutes a night over the past six games, but he is personally a minus 65.

De’Anthony Melton has been a tone setter for the Suns’ perimeter defense, playing tight defense and getting on the floor for loose balls. He’s averaging 11.7 points, 4.7 assists, and 3.7 rebounds in that time, and he hit a huge baseline jumper to send the Suns into overtime against the Los Angeles Clippers.

But Melton’s competence at the point guard spot is just part of the reason Booker should slide back to the two. The biggest reason Booker should move back to the two is that it’s his natural position, and the Suns should put him in position to develop into the best player he can be in the role he’s going to play long term.

It’s likely the Suns pick up a legitimate starting point guard in the near future, whether it’s in a trade before the deadline or in free agency or the draft this offseason. When that happens, Booker is going to shift back to the two. He isn’t the long term answer at point guard. And that’s a good thing, considering there are far more quality point guards than two guards.

So now that De’Anthony Melton has proven himself a capable short term option, the Suns should move Booker back to his true position. It will allow him to get comfortable with the other young players in his long term role. Even if the Suns are a bit better with Booker as the primary creator instead of Melton, Booker’s development should easily take priority.

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When Booker finally does return, the Phoenix Suns should roll out a starting lineup of De’Anthony Melton, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, T.J. Warren, and Deandre Ayton. They’d be a bit undersized, but they would be fairly competitive and set the team up well for the future.