Halloween is approaching and we’ve already seen a scary sight — the absence of Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker from a top-tier NBA list. It follows him missing out on Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday, with the award going to Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard.
Although it may seem fruitless to begin MVP conversations so early into the season, that hasn’t stopped the NBA from releasing their Kia MVP ladder.
Phoenix Suns superstar Devin Booker has astonishingly been excluded among ten players mentioned in the NBA’s first MVP ladder.
Booker has averaged a remarkable 32.5 points and 5.8 assists on 53% shooting from the field and 48% from three-point range through four games. Those numbers seem to have gone strangely unnoticed, even if it’s diluted somewhat in a league where an extraordinary nine players are averaging over 30 points per game.
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant heads the MVP ladder, followed by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, Pascal Siakam and DeMar Derozan. Honourable mentions were given to Lillard, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum, Paul George and Desmond Bane.
So, how has Booker gone under the radar? Those honourable mentions were all in relation to singularly massive performances, rather than the consistently elite numbers Booker’s produced. If he’d had delivered a 40-piece then things may be different, but instead he’s only put up 28, 33, 35 and 34-point games (insert facepalm).
But further than an honourable mention, Booker should lay claim to one of the top five spots. You can’t necessarily argue against the production of Morant, Antetokounmpo and Doncic, aside from stating that Booker’s value is emphasised in having the best plus-minus of the quartet.
Siakam is averaging 25.2 points, nine rebounds and eight assists on 46.9% from the floor and 36% from three-point range. They’re great numbers no doubt, but he was also aided by a 37-point triple double against a Brooklyn Nets team with the worst defense in the league.
DeRozan’s spot ahead of Booker seems even more outlandish, with the veteran averaging 24.8 points and 5.4 assists on 51.8% from the floor and 33.3% from three. But perhaps we should do a better job of simply acknowledging fantastic individual performances, rather than trying to constantly compare superstar players.
This is what we do as an industry though, and Booker’s absence here seems particularly egregious. We’re talking about a player who’s putting up ridiculous box score numbers, all the while doing it on low usage rate, turning the ball over less, and having the highest plus-minus of any player in this conversation.