It’s been more than a month since the 2022-23 NBA season started, and the Phoenix Suns have proven they’re still a top team in the West. All thanks to their young leader, Devin Booker, the Suns are on pace to have another historic run.
The Suns improved to 13-6 after their close win against the Utah Jazz on Saturday. Booker shone brightly against the Jazz as he displayed an all-around game. He had 27 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. Although he shot poorly from the field (8-27), it’s notable that his efforts led to another win.
The 26-year-old shooting guard has been impressive so far this season. He’s averaging a career-high in scoring, with 27.1, as he hopes to take the team to the next level. Additionally, Phoenix is missing key starters (Chris Paul and Cameron Johnson) that have been important to their season’s success. Booker is doing everything he can to keep them at the top.
Devin Booker is having another All-NBA season
Last season was the first time Booker made the All-NBA team. He averaged 26.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.8 assists while shooting over 46% from the field and 38% from three. This season, the Suns’ guard has taken more responsibility as their leader.
He’s currently averaging 27.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.8 assists and 46% from the field and 36% from the three. Booker is also second on the team when it comes to scoring points in the paint, generating 8.8 a game. His aggressiveness on the floor has made him a difficult player to stop.
It may not seem much on paper, but Booker’s value on the court has created plenty of opportunities for his teammates. One player that benefited from Booker’s play is Mikal Bridges, who’s increased his offensive production this season. Bridges went from scoring 14.2 last season to 16.2 this season. Booker’s ability to draw defenses has created more chances for his teammates to enhance their scoring.
He’s exhibited his improvement on the defensive end as well. Earlier in his career, teams often targeted Booker for his inability to defend at a high level. This season, he looks more reliable and poised as a defender. Looking at the team’s advanced stats, the Suns’ scorer is second in defensive win shares with 0.7. His defensive efforts are one of the bright spots for the Suns, as it has helped them become the top team in the Western Conference.
On the last update of the NBA’s MVP race, the three-time All-Star came in at seventh place. It’s not impressive since he finished last season in fourth place in the MVP voting. The season is still young, and Booker has a chance to flip the switch if he wants to win the award.
Related: NBA MVP race 2022-23: Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo battling early on
Booker’s overall grade: B+
Giving Booker a B+ grade isn’t a knock on his performance this season. It’s a compliment, knowing that he can accomplish more. Especially now that Paul and Johnson are both out, the team demands more from the All-Star guard.
Booker has only played 19 games of the season, so there’s still room for him to improve as their on-court leader in 2022. Additionally, CP3 is starting to hit a decline in his production, possibly due to Father Time.
Overall, the production of the former Kentucky Wildcat has been superb. Many expected Phoenix to have a subpar year after the contract issue with center Deandre Ayton. However, with Booker’s showing, the Suns are still considered one of the sizeable threats in the West.
Their next game is against the Sacramento Kings on Monday night, where Booker will be looking to bounce back from his faulty shooting night against the Jazz.
Related: Deandre Ayton is letting the Phoenix Suns down when they need him most