As the leading scorer for the Phoenix Suns as well as the heart and sole behind their run to the NBA Finals, Devin Booker carried his franchise both on and off the court last year. Having made such heavy contributions to such a successful team—while at only 24-years-old, Booker’s life truly represents the “NBA fantasy” which kids dream about at night, and play out all day on NBA2K’s MyCareer mode.
Atop the world right now, even as corny as that may sound, Booker no longer needs any introductions, nor does he have much else to prove from a basketball skills standpoint. But even despite this, greater days for Booker likely still lie ahead.
Looking to uptake his idol’s “Mamba Mentality” as best he can, this great start to Booker’s career in no way invites him to settle down and halt his yearning for greatness. Booker wants nothing more than to continue improving and collecting wins for the Suns. Going into the 2021-22 season, he looks on track to do just that.
Phoenix Suns Guard Devin Booker Statistical Outlook for 2021-22 Season
At his core, Booker remains a scorer above all else. Working in accordance with his general ascendance to stardom, Booker has increased his scoring output every year since the Suns drafted him in 2015, minus a 1.1 point regression during the 2019-20 season infamously stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year though, he jumped back on track and achieved his highest mark yet with 37.2 points per 100 possessions.
But while most players tend to see their efficiency numbers decrease as their scoring goes up, Booker did not. He managed to build on this from the year prior, putting up a 58.7 true shooting percentage—another impressive attribute for a young player.
These steady improvements from Booker year by year make a career-high scoring season during the 2021-22 campaign an all too easy bet. Also with another year to build up even more chemistry legendary point guard Chris Paul, another NBA season under his belt from a general standpoint, and while coming into his prime, Booker likely makes a run at the NBA’s scoring title as well. Watch for him to average 30.5 points per game.
As a passer though, the Suns will ask very little of Booker next season with top five all-time assist leader Paul set to play beside him. Especially if Booker indeed takes another leap with his scoring, Monty Williams might exclusively ask him to focus on putting the ball through the net—rather than helping others do so. For this reason, his assist numbers likely drop a tad bit.
But with this decrease occurring only due to Phoenix’s luxury of already possessing the game’s best facilitator in Paul, rather than any lacking skill from Booker, the odd chip might fall from time to time next season where Booker just abruptly decides to dish out the rock more and rack up assist numbers. Still dropping down though but only the slightest margins, Booker averages 4.1 assists per game during the 2021-22 season.
Likely earning a greater feel for the game, which most undersized rebounders must acquire to stay effective, Booker posted his second-best rebounding numbers last season, averaging 4.2 boards per contest. During the playoffs though, he bumped that up to 5.6 per game—the fifth most by all shooting guards.
Just like with his passing though, the Suns do not exactly need to rely on Booker’s rebounding to win games. Still as a shooting guard, Jae Crowder, Deandre Ayton, and JaVale McGee embody Phoenix’s certified glass eaters instead.
But also similarly to Booker’s passing, just because the Suns do not need him to rebound, it does not mean that he cannot rebound. This time with his feel for the game breaking the status quo, Booker puts up career high rebounding numbers, moving closer to his playoff average with 5.0 boards per game next year.
Defensively, Booker embodied a much improved product who allowed his competitiveness to drive him last season. But just like with most underrated defenders, these tendencies for Booker failed to show up on the stat sheet.
Continuing this unfortunate, but somewhat irrelevant trend for an offensive-minded player like Booker, he averages fractional defensive stats again next year. Still giving way to slight increases though due to his general development as a player, Booker averages 0.9 steals per game and 0.3 blocks per game next season.
Combing the five main statistical categories, Booker shapes up to average 30.5 points, 4.1 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 0.9 steals, and 0.3 blocks per game in 2021-22. Those numbers closely resemble the last shooting guard to win MVP, when James Harden put up 30.4/8.8/5.4/1.8/0.7 averages during the 2017-18 season.
They also closely mirror opposing guard and MVP finalist Stephen Curry‘s numbers from last year, when he put up 32.0/5.8/5.5/1.2/0.1 averages. Both embody great figures for Booker to try and model himself after, certain to provoke even greater days for the Suns franchise if he does so properly.