Deandre Ayton and Kelly Oubre
For starters, Devin Booker’s teammates have to learn that they need to match his level of readiness for every game, and when he isn’t abjectly dominating (he had a clandestine 9 points in the first half on 3-8 shooting – Dario Saric and Deandre Ayton led the team with a paltry 10 points), then someone else has to take it upon themselves to pick up his mantle.
A truly good team has more than one player that can be counted on to carry the load at a time.
Devin Booker proved for the who-knows-how-many-at-this-point against the Spurs that he undoubtedly can.
Deandre Ayton puts up stats that looks like he can (25 points, 12 rebounds, 9-14 shooting and 7-8 from the charity stripe against San Antonio), and yet, for a player who can dominate, 14 total shots is never a good sign, and all 8 free throw attempts came in the fourth quarter.
In close games like these, why weren’t those 8 attempts all in the fourth, leading to his 20th attempts of the game?? Every single free throw attempt in that period were from the Spurs fouling out of desperation because the end was nigh, not because Ayton had the greatest position and they could do nothing about it but hack.
Kelly Oubre acts like a star (forgive me, but his head bob and flexing are wearing on me big time), and yet, there isn’t a single game that the Suns have won this season in which he has been the overwhelming catalyst.
And yet – while none of those players (at least in Ayton and Oubre’s sake, not yet), can not reach the level of take-the-game-over ability on a daily basis as Devin Booker can, all of them are capable of doing it once in a while, when Booker is either starting slow, or being taken out of the game by the opposition’s prime focus under the belief that nobody else can stop them.
A loss like the one against the San Antonio Spurs will ultimately boil down to “why did it take so long for everyone to get ready to play,” the team as a whole will realize that with primary, secondary, and even tertiary go-to player (Devin Booker) unable to play his game fully and freely, any one of them could pull off a game once in a while to carry the team; and that right now, in games like the Spurs one, someone other than Booker needs to.