The Phoenix Suns have come back down to earth recently, having dropped their last two games to the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic. Both coming as part of the longest remaining road trip the team has, and after winning seven straight games prior to that.
Central to the Suns' return to form has been Devin Booker - who at this point in the season is blending the point guard and scoring duties for this group wonderfully well - alongside Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal. With the three of those players on this roster, anything is possible for the Suns this season.
But it is Booker's scoring in the last three games that has been outrageous, and has him sharing rarified air with the iconic Wilt Chamberlain.
It is an unwritten rule in the NBA today - but any time you share a statistical category with Chamberlain - then you are sure to be doing something right. Time dulls all of our love and appreciation for former stars, but you can definitely make the case that Chamberlain was the most dominant player who ever lived.
Yes the league has changed and a more modern version of Chamberlain in Joel Embiid has the outside touch to go with the inside dominance in 2024. It also fair to point out that some of Chamberlain's competition was below par at best. But you can only beat what is in front of you, and Chamberlain crushed his opponents.
As an unstoppable center, it is no surprise that Chamberlain also dominates almost all statistical scoring categories. Which makes what Booker has done in his last three games - granted two have been losses but that doesn't diminish the achievement - in joining Chamberlain with the below field goal percentage record. Hat tip to Justin Kubatko for this one.
That is simply incredible scoring from Booker. At this point we need to mention Beal here, because it does not feel like a coincidence that since his return from injury, his ability to take some of the ball-handling off Booker has helped him return to the scorching scorer he has always been. Only alongside his two All-Star level teammates, Booker has gone to another level again.
In fact in putting up over 50 points per game in his last three outings - a number that really needs to be re-read in order to believe - Booker has also put himself on top of another equally as illustrious list. Chamberlain might be the numerical gold standard, but the name Michael Jordan is the one that gets superstars going.
Looking at that list, and Booker also has the longest period of time elapsed between the two occasions he has appeared, which just speaks to the length of time he has already been an incredible scorer. Interestingly, the Suns rank around league average (13th, 119.5) during this period of time, but there are two ways to look at this.
On the one hand - as was so often the case when the Suns were a bad team going nowhere - where would the franchise be without his scoring abilities? But another line of thinking is that Booker is now taking too much out of the ball, to the detriment of actually winning games. Not quite deserving of the Chris Finch treatment, but something definitely worth keeping an eye on.
On a personal level for Booker though, he surely has to be named to the Western Conference All-Star reserves with regular performances such as the ones he has had lately. Lost to the couple of defeats on the road has been how this extended road trip started out, with Booker getting the better of Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks in Texas.
That game alone closed the talent gap between the two, with Booker now firmly breathing down the Slovenian's neck and also coming across as the better star to play with too. There's a reason Durant opted out of sticking around with the Brooklyn Nets to head to The Valley, and it wasn't to one day get a tribute video on his return East with his new team.
The scoring exploits of recently have also pushed Booker's output per game this season to an impressive 28.6 - which alongside the 7.3 assists each game - are both career highs and have helped power the Suns to some impressive wins recently. The only question that now remains is how much longer he can keep this up for.
Any time you are being mentioned with Chamberlain on the court, you are doing something right. Which Devin Booker most certainly is, so don't be surprised if he leads the postseason in scoring per game again this season, just like he did last year. He gets too hot, too quickly not to, and the Suns are benefitting from what is slowly turning into a career year for the player.