Improving this one area will make Devin Booker unstoppable next season

The Phoenix Suns are going to need a big 2024-25 from Devin Booker to get back on track, and improving in one area can help him achieve that.
Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns - Game Four
Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns - Game Four / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns have a roster that is only ever going to go as far as their three stars can take them. While both Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal may already have peaked in The Valley, Devin Booker will always be the cornerstone of the franchise as long as he is in town.

Booker also had a fantastic 2023-24 season, but unfortunately may have taken a step back in the minds of many fans after a poor playoff outing. With Jayson Tatum back in the NBA Finals for the second time and Anthony Edwards breaking out in a big way, Booker is being left behind as these stars add to their already impressive resumes.

It is clear then Booker needs to add to his game to right back into the conversation, and there is one tool he can add to his arsenal to become unstoppable.

It sounds so obvious, but that one thing he can improve dramatically on? His 3-point shooting percentage, which last season stood at an acceptable 36.4 percent. There is absolutely room for improvement there, especially when you consider Booker shot a shade more threes each night (6.1), than the Suns' lead marksman, Grayson Allen (5.9).

That Allen led the entire league (46.1 percent) in this category while shooting at essentially the same volume of Booker only proves that he is capable of closing the gap to Allen some. Obviously much more is expected of Booker offensively, and it is because he is so good with the ball in hand and willing to pass to teammates that Allen did go on to lead the league in this area.

But if we go back to the 2021-22 season, Booker managed to shoot what tied a career high of 38.1 percent from 3-point range, while taking seven shots from deep each night. On only one other occasion since entering the league has Booker shot over 38 percent from beyond the arc.

That would be 2017-18, which is interesting because it is the only other season so far he's taken over seven attempts from this area. Clearly then there is something in Booker letting it fly that little bit more from down town, although having All-Star level teammates in Durant and Beal means it cannot always be about him offensively.

Complicating matters further last season was the fact Booker was also the Suns' point guard, an experiment which he was willing to buy into, but which did not particularly pay off. The hope is that next season new head coach Mike Budenholzer has a floor general out there with Booker - he certainly hopes that's the case - which will allow Booker to get off the ball more and shoot.

How then can Booker not only get back to this level of production, but also flirt with approaching 40 percent on these shots next season? Having that aforementioned point guard will help, although center Jusuf Nurkic has to do a better job of creating more open space for Booker to work. This should in theory be easier with Durant and Beal requiring a lot of attention from opponents as well.

If that can happen - and if Booker takes on the responsibility of taking even one extra shot from 3-point range each night - then history and the numbers would say that good things are going to happen. Booker's stroke and release are nice and consistent, as they should be for a superstar of his quality.

But if he could make defenders respect that outside shot that little bit more, it would take his game to the final level. The two best players in the finals in Tatum (37.6 percent) and Doncic (38.2 percent) had better regular seasons from deep than Booker.

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Yet in the postseason, Booker managed to knock down 35 percent of his 3-pointers on only five shots per game, more than Doncic (34.3 percent on 9.8 attempts) and Tatum (an ugly 29 percent on 7.1 efforts). It is clear then that - when the game slows down and teams zone in on Booker - he can produce at the highest level from beyond the arc.

All that is left to do is take that into the regular season, and with a little more consistency the highest level can be reached for this Suns group. Thankfully for Booker, he now has a head coach in Budenholzer who will surely lean into this as well, while it give Durant and Nurkic more room to go to work (Durant) or work in the paint (Nurkic). Here's hoping that's what he's working on this summer.