The Phoenix Suns have made it to December and put themselves in a strong position to succeed this season, by winning eight of their last nine games and making it to the quarter-finals of the NBA's in-season tournament.
They have done this despite Bradley Beal only playing in three games total to this point, and Kevin Durant having missed a couple of games as well. Then there is Devin Booker - undoubtedly the face of the franchise and the team's best player - but who has also had to deal with some injuries that have made his 2023-24 season a stop-start one.
Booker was back for the Suns in their recent win over the Memphis Grizzlies, and he had an impressive 34 points and 10 rebounds as his side moved to 12-8 on the season. He also chipped in with seven assists, and continued to show everybody that he is capable of being not just the Suns' point guard from here on out, but a top five player in the league at that position.
After the win over the Grizzlies Booker was able to shed some light on the injuries that have interrupted what should be an MVP level season so far.
Booker has had a calf issue throughout the campaign, but that doesn't seem to be a problem for him anymore. Instead it has been first a left ankle sprain sustained against the Golden State Warriors to kick-off the season, and later a right ankle sprain that caused him to miss some time recently, that have been the main problems.
Speaking to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic, Booker put to bed any concern that this right ankle sprain was going to be a problem moving forward, while also expressing frustration at the cautious approach of the franchise in bringing him along. Not that he was complaining, Booker knows that the bigger tests are to come in the postseason, and he has to be ready for those.
Booker did however acknowledge that the left ankle sprain at the start of the season had been much worse to deal with, and that he could "barely walk" after sustaining that injury. Given the tricky nature of sprains and how much more susceptible an athlete is to rolling the ankle again after doing it badly once, it is a great sign that he is over that injury now.
This update from Booker could not have come at a better time, as the Suns get ready to face the Los Angeles Lakers in the in-season tournament quarter-final this week. Win that game, and they'll be headed to Las Vegas for a Final Four showdown and the chance to win some silverware.
Booker's availability is a boost because in two games against the Lakers so far this season - both losses - he has yet to play because of injury. Which is frustrating because the Suns are more than capable of beating the Lakers as currently constructed, and losing to them a third straight time with higher stakes does not bear thinking about.
D-Book though sounds like he is not only good to go, but actively looking forward to the level of competition which the in-season tournament is bringing to the league in December. He said as much recently when asked about it, and his 27.9 points and 8.4 assists - which are both career highs - are exactly what the Suns will need to try and pull this victory out of the bag.