The Phoenix Suns have reach the halfway point of their season, and already it has felt to fans like a long grind. Sitting in the eighth spot in the Western Conference surely wasn't part of the plan here, but thankfully there is still plenty of time to make up some ground.
A first round playoff series at home is still not out of the question for this group, but beyond that, it is anybody's guess as to how this campaign will ultimately finish. What has really helped this team's cause recently though, has been the return of Bradley Beal to the starting lineup.
With the Suns' starting five having finally had a run of games together, the halfway point seems like an ideal time to grade each of their seasons so far.
Whether it is fair or not, each player is graded differently based on what we know about them, and also what they mean to this organization. So Devin Booker's final grade for example may differ to that of Grayson Allen's, but we all know that Booker is the better player. It just so happens that Allen has massively outperformed his role up to this point.
Head coach Frank Vogel has utilized each of these players as best he could so far - and in the case of Kevin Durant we could be about to see him used in a different way moving forward - but the reality is that everybody needs to up their game some if this franchise is to win a first ever championship.
As has always been the case, Booker continues to do whatever the Suns need him to. Over the span of half a campaign, he has been asked to be this team's point guard, try and form a potent backcourt with Bradley Beal, and be the unquestioned leader of this team. The fact he has managed all three successfully means he is going to grade highly here.
Yet there seems to be the final ingredient missing for Booker right now, which has in part contributed to the struggles of this team in the fourth-quarter of games so far this season. In the playoffs last season, Booker led the league in scoring, at 33.7 per night. That explosiveness has been lacking so far, although it is fair to point out he had Chris Paul next to him as the floor general back then.
This is also reflected in the All-Star voting, with Booker currently much further down the fan voting list as he should be. Not that this should be held against him, although the missed games through injury at the start of the campaign certainly will be.
Trying to win a championship is hard, and so too is doing so as the face of the franchise. Durant seems more than happy to play second fiddle to Booker, while his teammates clearly defer to him as well. So it isn't that he has had a bad season up to this point - quite the opposite in fact - but it just feels like there should have been, more? Luckily, Booker still has time to add to this solid score.