The NBA announced the starters for the 2024 NBA All-Star game last week. Fortunately for the Phoenix Suns, forward Kevin Durant made it to the list, thanks to his play this season.
Still, fans would've loved the reveal if the first five for the Western Conference All-Star team included Devin Booker. The Suns' guard has been spectacular this year, but other stars have outperformed him. Hence, he isn't a starter this year.
The former Kentucky guard is on his way to return to the All-Star game after missing it due to injuries the previous season. Booker is back with a mission: to lead the organization to its first title win. He's played 36 games so far and has averaged 28.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 7.4 assists. The scoring guard has made 50 percent of his field goals and 38 percent of his three-pointers.
Despite a stellar stat line, critics and fans have paid no attention to him. Booker racked up 605,816 votes and finished eighth in fan voting. He only had one vote from the media and finished fifth in the overall media ranking. The player voting was a bit generous, though. The All-Star guard had 53 votes from the players, but that wasn't enough, as he finished fifth in overall player voting.
I've said before that he'll never win the popularity contest. However, Booker has taken it upon himself to show everyone that ignoring him won't work this season.
Over the past ten games, the three-time All-Star has proven to be one of the most lethal scorers in the league. Booker has averaged 32.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 6.1 assists while making 55 percent of his shots from the field and 39 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
This stretch of games includes back-to-back games where he scored more than 30 points. Two games later, he erupted for 52 points against the New Orleans Pelicans. In their game against the Dallas Mavericks, Booker didn't hold back and led the team to a win, thanks to his 46-point outing.
He didn't stop there. The Phoenix guard followed it up with 62 points against the Indiana Pacers. Unfortunately, their inability to protect the ball caused them to lose a close game. And recently, Booker again took over the game and finished with 44 points against the Orlando Magic. Sadly, that game ended in a 113-98 loss for the Suns.
There were a couple of games where he produced significantly in the scoring department that ended in a loss. But that has given critics and fans a reason to recognize his brilliance this season. Booker is slowly showing everyone his elite scoring ability, which isn't new to fans watching the league closely.
With his scoring outburst, the 30 coaches who will vote for the reserves should seriously consider giving him an All-Star nod. After all, Booker has added expanded facilitating as part of his offensive responsibility this season. The 6-foot-5 guard is making plays for his teammates while still being a threat as a scorer. The one-time All-NBA star is highly efficient while doing so, too.
Over the years, fans have seen players who are high-volume scorers who earned an All-Star selection. A few of them aren't even better than Booker. There are a handful of former stars who put up empty stats and earned a spot in the All-Star team. For the Suns' star, he's nowhere near them, as his scoring has helped the team improve their record.
After all, some players from past seasons made it into the All-Star team without a stat line comparable to the Suns' star. There's even an instance where a player became an All-Star starter but wasn't anywhere near Booker's stat line.
The league will announce the All-Star reserves for both teams on Feb. 1, and Suns fans are looking forward to seeing Booker's name on the list.