Devin Booker gets no respect, and the Phoenix Suns need to change that

Devin Booker Phoenix Suns (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images)
Devin Booker Phoenix Suns (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images) /

Devin Booker is easily the closest player to a superstar the franchise has touted since Steve Nash, and yet he gets no respect. The Phoenix Suns needs to change that.

The late, great Rodney Dangerfield used to joke in his bits all the time that he “doesn’t get no respect.” His catskills humor was one of a kind, and yet it resonated with millions around the world – something that Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker would certainly appreciate today.

Devin Booker is only 22-years-old and yet has accomplished more than 95% of NBA players in the history of the league to date on an individual level.

Scoring 70 points in a single game, scoring over 50+ multiple times, his total accumulation of points at his age that is only surpassed by a handful of players led by names like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony; and yet, because the franchise who drafted him has been ran by a number of complete basketball numbskulls, his stats are called “empty” by fans and talking heads alike around the league, and the only credit he gets nationally is for off-the-court work (which is of course very much worth the credit).

And now, of course, even in the offseason, he gets no respect for complaining about getting double-teamed in a pickup game, which someone happened to be recording a few second of, and in my mind should have remained entirely private.

A 22-year-old scoring machine  wanted to use his time on the court to work on his post moves, and instead a washed up center called out for a double team, much to the growing star’s chagrin.

And now the likes of Jalen Rose – a solid scorer in the NBA in his own right, and a former Phoenix Sun – has the opportunity to rip Booker on national television, ultimately putting the blame on the Phoenix Suns franchise for Book wanting to take his aggression out during a pickup game following his four years of losing while here.

Had championship-winning Kobe Bryant been recorded complaining about an offseason double team been given the benefit of the doubt?


Had a healthy Giannis Antetokounmpo been recorded about an offseason double team been given the benefit of the doubt?

You betchya.

I could go on and on, and the only thing that would change between the caliber of scorer between the three would be that those players play on winning teams, and Devin Booker does not.

It doesn’t matter that Ray Spalding started three games  for the Phoenix Suns last year, or that Josh Jackson was literally the worst statistical player in the entire league  as well and yet started in 29 and played in 79 total.

All that seems to matter is that that team that Devin Booker scored 26+ points on only won 19 games (ignoring the fact that only a handful of players in NBA history  have averaged at least 26 points per game regardless of the roster around them), he doesn’t get the credit for wanting to work on individual scoring moves during the offseason, instead of being forced to pass the ball to Ben Simmons who (regardless of how his shooting looks during practice as well) has yet to make a 3-point shot in his entire NBA career.

Somewhere Rodney Dangerfield is looking down upon Devin Booker going “I understand your pain, kid.”

There is only so much that Devin Booker could have done in his first four seasons in the league that would have made the team better.

Could he play better defense? Sure! But answer me this, Batman:  let’s say that Booker is a much better defender than he is. How many more games each season does the Phoenix Suns actually win with one player markedly better than the others?

I didn’t see Kawhi Leonard go to the New York Knicks this offseason – I saw him land with the already 48 win Los Angeles Clippers, and only after the franchise got a trade in place for Paul George.

If Phoenix could have swapped Leonard for Booker (and also sat the NBA Champion for 18 games), does that team win 30 games?

Hell no! Maybe  they win a couple more, but no one was putting that horribly roster anywhere near the top.

Would LeBron James in Booker’s spot have made the 2018-19 Phoenix Suns a playoff team?

HA! He couldn’t even make the Lakers  a playoff team and they actually TRIED  to build a playoff team last year.

Robert Sarver and James Jones even gave away  Tyson Chandler in an attempt to help L.A. make it to the big dance.

So why then does Devin Booker not get any respect for scoring 70 points? For scoring 50+ points in back-to-back games? For averaging 26+ points per game on a season? For averaging a ridiculous 53.6% from within the arc last season when his 3-point shot wasn’t falling to his prior set standard?

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

Oh (and for as empty-a-stat-player that some people claim he is) how about the 6.8 assists per game (a career-high) on the league’s worst 3-point shooting team, an assist rate (for a non-point guard) that was not only 19th best in the league, but higher  than point guards Mike Conley, Ricky Rubio, Luka Doncic, Kemba Walker, Eric Bledsoe, Lonzo Ball, Stephen Curry, Victor Oladipo, Jamal Murray, Goran Dragic, Fred VanVleet, Dennis Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Derrick Rose.

Not too mention DeMar DeRozan, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal, and Blake Griffin.

*yawn* but Devin Booker’s stats are “empty” and thus he doesn’t get any respect.

There is not a single team in this league that would not love  to add a 22-year-old Devin Booker.

There is not a single NBA fan would not love  Devin Booker on their team.

Here is the problem, and here is why I made my headline the way I did: I do not care that this team look much  improved this season over last.

Heck: this roster is much  improved and I do believe that they are going to surprise a lot  of people, the league-round.

But Devin Booker is a man like most of us.

He is proud of the work he does as a professional, like most of us.

He works hard to improve his craft like most of us.

And when he does not get the respect that he believes he deserves – like most of us desire – he does have an opportunity to look for greener pastures.

I am on record for believing that James Jones is doing a bang up job rebuilding the Phoenix Suns’ roster and have almost zero problem with a single move he has made thus far based on the results of the players returning with each move.

But this roster had better play as a team, and it had better win as a team, and it had better show signs of being a potentially dominant franchise for years to come, or Devin Booker will take his ball and go elsewhere.

The video of Devin Booker complaining about a double-team is the second in the past couple of weeks that have caught fan’s attention.

Lest we forget the first when he was dominating another pickup game (while being guarded one-on-one) and after draining a number of shots he said “I ain’t never been to the playoffs yet.”

Next. The new Phoenix Suns: there has been a culture change - and we can thank James Jones for it. dark

The playoffs are as important to Booker as they are to Phoenix Suns fans – if not more so. They are a part of his livelihood; his legacy; the respect he earns nationally. Booker hasn’t forgotten this and is obviously thinking about it every time he steps onto the court looking to dominate.

Devin Booker gets not respect, but he deserves it – and whoever is calling the shots in the Phoenix Suns’ organization, had better keep that in mind.