Is Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker poised to morph into Harden-like player?

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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James Harden and Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
James Harden and Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

By the end of his seventh season, Harden was a four-time All-Star whom the Houston Rockets had centered their entire offense around.

After being dealt to the Rockets in a deal that now haunts the Oklahoma City Thunder, the analytical style of Mike D’Antoni and Daryl Morey turned James Harden and the franchise into a regular season juggernaut.

2015-16 was Harden’s seventh season. By the culmination of that, the incremental improvements in almost every major statistical category had continued.

In three seasons, Harden had jumped from 25.4, to 27.4, to 29 points per game. Rebounding numbers had gone from 4.7, to 5.7, to 6.1, while assists per game went from 6.1, to 7, to 7.5. Turnovers as well went from 3.6, to 4, then 4.6.

These numbers were all a consequence of increased usage rate – 27% in 2013-14, followed by 30.8%, then 31.9% by the end of that 2015-16 season. As a result, his field-goal and three-point attempts exponentially grew as well.

Booker’s been fortunate (or unfortunate) in some regard. Unlike Harden, he began his career on a bad team and has always had generous usage rate throughout almost all of his career.

Booker had a usage rate of 31.3% in 2021-22, right around where Harden’s was by the end of his seventh season. The two also share incredibly similar field-goal and three-point attempts during their comparative seventh season.

Booker’s field-goal attempts have grown in each of the last three seasons, while his three-point attempts went from 5.5 to 7 over the course of the last two. His rebound numbers have increased over the past four seasons, while his assist numbers grew from 4.3 to 4.8 last season.

Are these numbers a telltale sign of what’s to come? That Booker is ready to explode into one of the best and unstoppable offensive forces in the league?