It looks like the Phoenix Suns are ready to deploy Devin Booker at point guard
As the Phoenix Suns get set to start the 2020-21 season their roster looks noticeably thin when it comes to playmaking at the point guard spot behind Chris Paul. Cameron Payne looks set to get a shot as the ‘point guard’ off the bench, and E’Twaun Moore might also get a chance too, but neither of them is reliable enough playmakers to serve as primary creators for a lineup.
This is why Devin Booker appears as though he is going to become the primary play creator and finisher at any time Chris Paul is not on the court. This is something that has been used out of necessity for as long as Booker has been who is he, but the Suns looked to try and go away from it when they brought in Ricky Rubio and Ty Jerome last summer.
During this free agency period, the Suns focused on different types of guards, signing Moore and Langston Galloway who can both handle the ball but have never been used as a point guard. Instead, both players are best utilized moving off the ball, shooting, and finishing plays created for them.
Looking at how Booker was used in the bubble gives a better indication of how these types of lineups will work this upcoming season. While in the bubble, Booker’s drives per game increased to 15.8 a game, which is well above his season average of 14.3. This is because of the increased usage as a ball-handler and the more reliable set of shooters around him.
Just because Booker will act as more of a point guard does not mean that his passing numbers are going to jump, in fact, they might do the opposite. In the bubble, Booker’s passing numbers were basically down across the board, which is not a bad thing because Booker is very good and should have the ball as often as possible.
The key is that Booker became the decision-maker when he was not sharing the court with Ricky Rubio, as it will be this year just with Chris Paul. The impact this has on his overall numbers this coming year will be determined by how much he and Paul’s minutes are staggered to keep on on the court at all time.
Now with Paul next to Booker, and shooters off the bench, the Phoenix Suns have set up these minutes with Booker at point guard to be maximized. When Paul and Booker play together Booker can conserve energy playing off-ball. This allows Booker to self-create more when he is without Paul on the court in the way that he did in the bubble with driving and shooters around him.
Even with big additions made at the guard spot Devin Booker should be spending a meaningful time at point guard this upcoming season. And with shooters galore, and less offensive responsibility in the starting lineup, he should be equipped to thrive as the lead guard.