Phoenix Suns: 3 Most Important Matchups vs Denver Nuggets

Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker getting a lot of different looks

Having clearly elevated his play while delivering a historic performance during Game 6, an argument can certainly be made for naming Devin Booker as a top five performer thus far during these playoffs. With the Nuggets lacking the defensive aptitude at the guard position following injuries to Jamal Murray and Will Barton, it feels likely that the Nuggets will throw a several different looks at Booker’s direction while trying to stop him.

With less intimidating defenders such as Austin Rivers and Facundo Campazzo starting at each guard position for Denver, leaving them alone against Booker, and even Paul for that matter, feels like building a dam with tinfoil rather than cement. Against the Blazers, the Nuggets got real creative while trying to defend Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, even sticking Aaron Gordon on them from time to time.

Gordon bothered Lillard especially during the first few sets where the strategy took place, but he eventually found his way around it, utilizing his superior speed to both attack the rim and create space. Although not quite as fast as Lillard, Booker should be able to get by Gordon with quick bursts as well. This remains something he must accomplish, or else Gordon’s size might make things difficult.

However, if Booker indeed identifies and exploits Gordon’s weaknesses against him as a defender, the Nuggets might just cut their losses and look to double-team him at every turn. As a response, Booker must be ready to swing the ball when necessary, and his teammates need to burry whatever shots come their way.

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But either way, the Nuggets stand undoubtedly understaffed to defend someone like Booker, making this matchup feel destined to end up as a battle of action and reaction between him and Nuggets head coach Mike Malone.