Devin Booker has once again gotten better from the previous year, and he is showing he can be the best player on a Phoenix Suns team that wins games.
His 2-point and 3-point field goal percentage have both increased, partially due to the arrival of Ricky Rubio, but he is still scoring at a high rate when he creates for himself.
Booker from last year to this year may seem like the same player to those that do not watch the Suns, and yes most of his numbers do look to be very similar. However, from the perspective of someone who dissects the Phoenix Suns, Booker’s game looks more complete.
Booker is averaging 24 points while being extremely more efficient than previous years. He is taking fewer shots (which Suns fans will have get used to), he is playing stellar defense for the first time in his career, and he had begun to be the team’s vocal leader on the floor.
At times, there have been some frustrations this year regarding the lack of aggression from Booker. I would think both he and Monty Williams agree there have been situations where should have been more assertive. Despite that, he has still been extremely productive.
Booker in his fifth year in the league, and teams now gear up for him defensively throwing multiple players to guard him throughout the game, including, of course, excessive double-teams.
Plus, the Suns have become a relevant basketball team. Teams no longer see the Suns on the schedule and think they will walk all over them. They see the Suns and know it will be a grind for 48 minutes.
That is partially thanks to Coach Monty Williams for getting his players to buy into his system and General Manager, James Jones, for going out this offseason and bringing in the players he thought would give this team a chance to compete.
However, ultimately it comes down to the guys on the court fighting day-in and day-out for the team’s success, and that starts with Devin Booker.
Team success is something that Booker has never had in his professional career. For the first time, Booker can be the best player on a team that is winning, and that is something new to him.
Booker is still learning what that role entails, and in some games you see him understanding that role: 40 points and a huge fourth quarter against the 76ers, or 35 points 12 rebounds and 9 assists against a good Timberwolves team.
In some cases you do see the learning curve and growing pains that comes along with this role: 6 turnovers against the Heat, which I personally think was Booker’s worst game of the season, and 12 points and 5 turnovers against the Nuggets, in a game that if he plays well the Suns could have won.
The Suns’ future is this emerging core they have, and it will be Booker at the helm for the Suns for a long time to come. With the help of Ricky Rubio and coach Monty Williams, Booker will figure out how to flourish in this system and eliminate those poor games.
The team’s success has come before Booker’s success and when the time comes where both are producing at a high level, the rest of the league is in some trouble.