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Devin Booker Needs More Love

The Phoenix Suns prolific scorer has been proving he's more than that.

The Phoenix Suns look ready to get back to the NBA Finals. Chris Paul is marching towards the end of his hall of fame career trying to get the one thing he has not yet attained, DeAndre Ayton is still a beast, and Devin Booker has grown from more than just a prolific scorer. 

Need A Basket? Book It

Remember when Devin Booker dropped 70 points in a game? If you don't, here's a refresher.

Understandably, that is what Booker has been known for. The man can score points in bunches like very few others in the league, and he is one of the last remaining traditional shooting guards. He can shoot a jumper, he can nail an outside shot, and he can even go old-school into the post like Jordan and Kobe. As a scorer, he's ten out of ten. His only area of growth needed was covered when the Suns acquired Chris Paul to distribute. Add in a young Ayton, and the Suns are a powerhouse. 

Quietly Having His Best Season

Has uh, anyone noticed he's having the best season of his career? He's scoring 26.8 PPG (his highest by just a few points) and has tied his career-high in outside shooting percentage at 38%. Hold your noses—let's look at those analytical, advanced metrics. His previous career-high in VORP (value over replacement player) was 2.6. In 2021-22 he posted 3.6 which is far and away from his highest mark here. His PER (player efficiency rating) is also a career-high at 21.6 Booker has done the little things right this season and they've been showing in the stat sheets and on the floor. Look at his team-high eight assists from game 1 of the West Semifinals against the Dallas Mavericks.

Most of these assists are perfect playmaking ones. The lobs are well executed but I am more impressed with the ones involving the pick-and-pop and the pick-and-roll. These are some serious Stockton to Malone type assists. 

It shows that on a night where Booker didn't have his best shooting touch, he could still involve his teammates and improve his team. He perfectly reads the double teams and dishes to an open man. 

He flirted with a triple-double in this game, which is impressive when you play next to Chris Paul. I find this impressive considering he also watched Luka Doncic drop 45 points and 8 assists. Booker didn't feel the need to shoot his team into a win because that wasn't what was called for. That isn't the game the Suns have to get from Booker to win. This isn't a knock on Doncic, the Mavericks need him to get buckets for them to win. The maturation of Booker comes from his self-awareness and knowledge that his best is just giving his team the best chance to win.

It's a lesson other prolific scorers and NBA legends had to learn. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant both learned this and eventually became two of the biggest winners in the NBA. Is Booker on their level? I'll let you answer that.