Suns’ Devin Booker in Uncharted Territory while Finishing Regular Season

Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

For the past seven years, Devin Booker stood in as the cornerstone of the Phoenix Suns franchise. In that timeframe, he saw a great deal from both ends of the spectrum.

Going through four coaches before landing this season’s COTY favorite in Monty Williams, and after seeing countless teammates come in and out of the locker room, Booker stood his ground, even while others jumped ship.

But for as difficult as his first few NBA chapters were for Booker, things now look brighter than ever in the Valley of the Sun.

The star shooting guard currently finds himself averaging a career-high 26.8 points per game. Booker’s 38.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc also resembles a career-high mark, fully patching up his offensive game’s lone flaw from last year.

Of course, Booker and the Suns also own the league’s best record, currently boasting a 64-17 ledger. MVP buzz keeps following him around as well, with some support even coming from a few of his most talented peers.

But with the regular season all but wrapped up at this point and with Booker less likely to take home the MVP award, it might behoove him to just sit out during Phoenix’s final contest on Sunday vs the Sacramento Kings.

But in doing that, he’ll illustrate this new era in Phoenix to an even further extent. Booker has sat contests out down the stretch in previous years, but for reasons completely opposite to this year.

During the 2017-16 season, Booker sat out his team’s final 12 games, nursing what was listed as a hand injury. In that stretch, the Suns lost 10 games, rounding out a rough 21-61 regular season record. They obviously had nothing to play for, so resting Booker and playing it safe felt like the right move.

That same year, the Suns ranked dead last in both offensive and defensive rating. They also ranked last in fan attendance, which is crazy to think about with the team having enjoyed its second longest sellout streak since 2006 this year.

Booker’s teammates from that season compared to now are like night and day. Going from a16-year veteran center in Tyson Chandler to a stretch, young big in Deandre Ayton has been quite the makeover.

He can also now find a Hall of Fame point guard running beside him each night, rather than a slew of young guards and someone who “didn’t even want to be [there].”

Booker clearly recognizes this transition. After his first NBA Finals game last year, he called Chris Paul the “greatest leader to play this game.”

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Now, with a week left until his second playoff run begins, Booker looks ready to put this franchise on his back once again. But with the help of these fantastic “new” teammates and coaches, he gets to do so with a chance to secure an NBA title. You can’t ask for a better situation than that.