Devin Booker is undoubtedly the Phoenix Suns’ best player, evident by the fact he was recently rated the best shooting-guard in the league.
While most would proclaim Booker to also be the most valuable player on the Suns, the leadership and offensive conduction of Chris Paul could bring that into contention.
But as the Suns prepare to leave an indelible mark on the 2022-23 season, that point of contention must be erased. If there remains some doubt on who the Suns most valuable player is, Booker’s continued rise needs to wash it away and into the past.
History suggests that Devin Booker must become the Phoenix Suns’ unequivocal leader in order for the franchise to deliver a maiden NBA championship.
The facts are that it is extremely unlikely that Paul can be the most valuable player on a championship team. That’s not necessarily because he’s 37 years of age, or that his 17-year career is yet to prove him capable of doing so. It’s actually a far more salient point that’s etched into NBA history.
When Stephen Curry won the NBA Finals MVP this year, he defied a league-long perspective – that it’s extremely difficult to win the award at a short stature. Curry got his elusive Finals MVP, in doing so joining just six other players to have won the award standing at 6’3″ or below.
Los Angeles Lakers’ legend Jerry West won the inaugural Finals MVP in 1969, with Jo Jo White winning it for the Boston Celtics two years later. The backcourt duo of Joe Dumars and Isiah Thomas each won on the ‘bad boy’ Detroit Pistons in 1989 and 1990, while Chauncey Billups and Tony Parker won the award for the Pistons (2004) and San Antonio Spurs (2007) respectively.
This is primarily a wings and bigs league, it always has been. That factor, along with Paul’s age, means it would actually be unfair to expect a Finals MVP-worthy performance from him.
While the Suns rise isn’t squarely on his shoulders, Booker’s the one Phoenix player who projects as being the best player on a championship team. With Paul’s prime becoming more and more a shadow rather than reality, it’s time for the 25-year-old to well and truly step out of the light.