January of 2024 was quite month for Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns. The team went 11-5, including their second seven game winning streak of the season, to solidify their position in the Western Conference standings.
An 11-5 month might not sound like much relative to the runs that the Boston Celtics and L.A. Clippers have been on this season, but their 28-20 record is much more like it as the trade deadline approaches. On a personal level, Booker was named the Western Conference Player of the Month for January, and was selected to the All-Star game for the fourth time in his career.
It is clear the 27-year-old has been on a heater in the opening weeks of the New Year, but was January actually the best Booker has ever played?
Looking at his personal stats, and he has got a strong case here. Booker managed to put up 30 points per game last month, which would be a career high in scoring if stretched to take in the whole season. Not as much as the 33.7 he put up in the postseason last year - which only proves he can up his game when it really matters - but more than the career high 28.3 of this season.
A nice start when you consider scoring is where Booker excels most, although this season he has been tasked with being the Suns' point guard for much of his time on the court as well. In January he dished out 6.3 dimes per game, which is again a career high, so that's another notch for the player. It does languish a full assist (7.3) behind what Booker has managed to do this season though.
This can be explained by the return of Bradley Beal to the starting five, and how he has gotten on the ball more to allow Booker to revert back to being the elite scorer we all know that he is. So sacrificing a single assist compared to his season average - while still having it be a career high - and go for 30 per game is exactly the kind of balance you'd want out of Booker.
He is at his best when he is attacking opponents and scoring in different ways, and never was this more apparent than in the big win over the Dallas Mavericks in Texas last month. Luka Doncic has long been a thorn in the side of the Suns - and will continue to be - but Booker rose to the occasion to help his team pull out the win thanks to some brilliant individual play.
His 46 points coming when the team needed it most, with Kevin Durant having an off night. In fact there was a stretch there in January where Booker averaged over 50 points across a three-game span. Even more impressive, he was the only player since Wilt "I lead every statistical category that there is" Chamberlain to record as high a field goal percentage as Booker did while averaging 50.
Speaking of that ridiculous scoring output, Booker managed two of his top five best scoring nights in January. He may never top the 70 points he put up back in March of 2017, but he had 62 against the Indiana Pacers, and 52 against the New Orleans Pelicans. Booker has been an ok 3-point shooter throughout his career, with an average of a shade under 36 percent.
If anything it is the one area where you would like to see some improvement, and this season he has upped that number to the more impressive 38.8 percent, again a career high. The most 3-pointers Booker has made in a single game so far in his career is six, and he has done this on 24 occasions. Not bad given his shooting percentages in this area.
Three of those 24 occasions came last month, meaning one-eighth of the total times Booker has nailed six shots from deep in a game, came in January of 2024. Given that there are really no weaknesses in his game offensively, to see Booker get that bit more consistent from beyond the 3-point line may just have been the missing piece to unlock the month that he has just had.
Perhaps the only knock you can attritute to Booker here is the aforementioned 11-5 record the Suns had in January. When a superstar is producing at their best ever level in a lot of areas - while playing next to Durant and Beal no less - it is not wrong to expect a team to go on a serious run. Losing the game to the Pacers in which he put up 62 was also not a good look either.
But at a time when the Suns as a group turned the corner on their season, it was Booker who led the way. It is just fortunate timing that he was also named an All-Star in this month, but being named the West Player of the Month for a franchise-leading third time was all his own doing. So yes, January of 2024 was in fact the best individual month of Devin Booker's still young career.