Devin Booker’s stats were once called empty, but now he’s a full on superstar. And though we don’t know if it will be Suns in four, they got one because he did what he does best...and everything else.
LeBron James once called Booker the most disrespected player in the league and he wasn’t exactly wrong. Booker didn’t even make an All-NBA team this season and his teammate Chris Paul, who certainly is worthy of praise, got all the MVP love.
Now those of us, myself included, who once wondered whether Booker’s impact went beyond the point column on the box score have been proven definitively wrong. I’d even say he embarrassed me, as in perhaps my most ridiculed take, deservedly so, I once wondered if he would thrive in a Lou Williams role.
Instead, he just recorded his first career triple-double in the Western Conference Finals and was drawing comparisons to Kobe Bryant. Because while it was nice to see Booker control the game in other ways, he did his most crippling damage where the Mamba once reigned, the mid-range.
Shooting and shot creation are at even more of a premium in today’s game and Booker’s ability to punish playoff defenses from the areas on the floor they typically are more willing to surrender is still what really separates him.
He’s obviously improved overall over the years but perhaps the biggest change was simply an opportunity, given Booker is now showing everyone why he is a bona fide bucket on the biggest stage.
As a result of the play of their star, the Suns are as hot as it gets.