Phoenix Suns: All-Star repeat for Devin Booker?

Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports) /

Attention, all Phoenix Suns fans (and NBA fans): Once again, a critically important election faces the U.S. (and Canada, and the rest of the world).

NBA All-Star voting began last Thursday and runs through Tuesday, Feb. 16. According to the NBA’s release, the details — including whether to hold an actual game — are still being discussed.

The voting, as usual, is for the starters only. The reserves will be named by NBA coaches.

The Phoenix Suns should not have to worry about NBA All-Star Game representation, having seen Devin Booker make the team last season and Chris Paul emerging as a strong candidate.

But the fans will worry.

Bad for Devin: Booker started slowly, and the voting began after the Suns had played only 16 games. Add to that the fact that he missed games 17 and 18 and you may be looking at a fatally small sample size — and not enough time to make up for his lagging numbers.

Of course, the numbers are strong but they also need to reach a fairly high bar. Booker stood 13th in scoring (22.9 points per game) among Western Conference players, and was contributing 4.1 assists per game and 3.5 rebounds. Each of those numbers is short of his 2019-20 stats.

Good for Devin: He made it last season, though that outcome was in serious doubt until a late injury to Damian Lillard opened up the final spot. But he made it. And spending the past several months as “All-Star Devin Booker” adds some authenticity.

More important for Booker, since he’s not likely to be voted a starter, is the opinion of those NBA head coaches. But they have seen plenty of Booker on his “A” game.

Praise for Paul: A more precise reason for the Suns’ 10 victories in 18 games is the play of 10-time All-Star Chris Paul. When assigning “value” to this team, one would have to consider Paul over Booker — again recognizing the small sample size and Booker’s slow start.

Paul has continued to show he’s a master of the bail-out. Late in possessions, when all seems lost, Suns fans aren’t cringing when Paul has to take the shot (remember Ricky Rubio — a truly fine point guard — in those situations?). In fact, among Western Conference guards, only Luka Doncic has a higher rate of unassisted shots made (87.2 percent) than does Paul (85.6).

Let’s take a look at the usual elite list of West standouts the Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker and Chris Paul would have to defeat in the NBA All-Star fan voting.

The Suns won’t be represented among the starting five unless something unforeseen occurs.

The likely guards are either Portland’s Damian Lillard or Stephen Curry of the Warriors along with LeBron James of the Lakers.

The forward-centers figure to be Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers, Anthony Davis of the Lakers and Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets.

The seven reserves should include Booker, if fan behavior is to be believed (a strong theory is the “year-after” idea, in which a player is properly appreciated a year after he officially arrives as a star).

We’ve got Curry or Lillard, Luka Doncic, Donovan Mitchell, Booker, Rudy Gobert, Paul George and Zion Williamson.

Threats to knock off Booker include Brandon Ingram, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Ja Morant, De’Aaron Fox and Mike Conley.

Others such CJ McCollum, John Wall and Karl-Anthony Towns have missed time and are probably too far behind.

While the coaches deciding on the reserves know what Paul brings, he’s at best likely among the “others” under consideration.

If he’s not chosen as a 2021 All-Star, Paul, whose 29-point, 12-assist gem helped the Phoenix Suns rally past Doncic and the Mavericks on Saturday night, will have to be content as a future Hall-of-Famer. He’s been the perfect puzzle piece; a presence that helps push confidence throughout the rotation.

That may not be worth an All-Star nod, but it ain’t nothin.

Phoenix Suns fans who love NBA All-Star long shots undoubtedly would add that it never hurts to vote for as many Phoenix players as you can.

Here’s how:

Fans can send in a ballot each day on the NBA App and, but the social media assault has other avenues. Supporters can also vote for up to 10 unique players per day on Twitter. All current NBA players will be available for selection.

And, according to the NBA release:

"Five “2-for-1 Days” will allow fans to have their votes count twice on Jan. 30, Feb. 2, Feb. 4, Feb. 13 and Feb. 16 through Twitter, and the NBA App voting platforms. All “2-for-1 Days” will be designated from midnight ET – 11:59 p.m. ET."

The players and media also will be involved.

Here’s the voting breakdown for the NBA All-Star starters:

  • Fans, 50 percent of the vote.
  • All current players, 25 percent.
  • A media panel, 25 percent.

The ballot for players and media will feature three frontcourt players and two guards from both the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference.

From there, players are ranked within the three voting groups and weighted by their average ranking.

Fan voting will serve as a tiebreaker if necessary.

The starters will be announced on Thursday, Feb. 18, during TNT NBA Tip-Off, but Phoenix Suns fans will have to wait until Feb. 23 when the reserves (selected by the NBA head coaches) are announced.

And here are the specifics from the league on how to vote:

" voting page at Fill out one full ballot per day (per day is defined as once every 24 hours) on from a desktop or mobile browser. Fans can select up to two guards and three frontcourt players from each conference when choosing starters.NBA App: Access the ballot and vote through the NBA App, which is available on Android and iOS. Fans can fill out one full ballot per day by selecting up to two guards and three frontcourt players from each conference when choosing starters.Twitter: Tweet, retweet or reply with a hashtag of an NBA player’s first and last name (#FirstNameLastName) or Twitter handle, along with the hashtag #NBAAllStar.  Each tweet may include only one player’s name or handle.  Fans may vote for 10 unique players per day from Jan. 28 – Feb. 16."

It’s election season, Phoenix Suns fans. Make your vote count — every day!

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