The Phoenix Suns enjoyed their biggest win of the season on Wednesday night, when they hung 133 points on the Minnesota Timberwolves. An opponent who boast the best defensive record in the league, and who the Suns at times blew away with how they scored the basketball.
Both Kevin Durant and Devin Booker put up 31 points apiece, with Booker looking like he hadn’t missed a beat in what was only his third appearance of the season. After the game, Durant was ecstatic to have his All-NBA level teammate back out there on the court with him.
The Suns now have two games against the Utah Jazz to look forward to, and they should not be put off by Booker’s latest injury status ahead of their next game.
The most recent update from the organization listing Booker as probable for Friday night’s tilt against an opponent they have beaten already this season. Given the struggles Booker has had to get onto the court this season – first with an ankle issue, and then a calf problem – you would think this would be a concern for the franchise.
One made even worse by the fact that Bradley Beal remains out with a back issue which has marred the start of his time in The Valley. With Booker unquestionably the team’s starting point guard (he’s putting up a career high 8.3 assists per game), the Suns really feel his absence when he is not on the court.
But unlike previous updates and time missed, the double-header against the Jazz represents a nice opportunity to bring Booker back using the same cautious timeline they have so far. Jordan Goodwin – who is by no means an ideal backup but defensively brings it each night if nothing else – is also available to the team, and will see his minutes increase if Booker can’t play.
Booker only saw the court for 26 minutes in the win over the Timberwolves, and was clearly on a restriction. He has also been listed as probable in the past, only to not play. Whenever he does play next, and neither Jazz game is not out of the question, he is undoubtedly going to be on another restriction.
The idea of Booker winning the MVP award was something which was spoken about before the season started. With the limit now being set at 65 games as the minimum to play in order to qualify though, time is already against him to make enough of a mark on the season to try and win this award.
As it stands, Nikola Jokic is having another superb season, while Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum have played more games and had starring roles in their respective organizations having hot starts. The idea of maybe missing two more Jazz games – both of which are away from home – will do nothing for Booker’s floundering MVP case, but he won’t care if it leads to greater team success.
The Jazz sit at 4-7, and the Suns should have enough with Durant and a couple of role players going off to dig out two wins. If Booker was out there then all the better, but at this point the organization may be circling the next home game, against the Portland Trail Blazers and Deandre Ayton no less, to have Durant, Booker and Beal play together for the first time this season.