As the Phoenix Suns embark on their last real road trip of the season, they are down a ton of production, meaning their remaining star needs help.
We fans of the Suns all know – or at least we are assuming – that the team will have a chance at the NBA title when Kevin Durant comes back and can play consistent minutes. However, Phoenix needs to hold its positioning in the standings to reach the point when KD can return, which is still at least two weeks away. With big-man Deandre Ayton also missing at least Sunday’s match-up with Oklahoma City, the burden on Devin Booker to carry the load is increased.
With growing demands on our one remaining superstar – sorry, Chris Paul is no longer in that classification – the team needs to work to make his job easier, and the good news is it is not all that difficult.
Booker has been carrying a lot for the Suns since his return from injury
Devin Booker has played in 14 games since returning from his groin injury, which kept him out for about eight weeks. In those 10 games, his overall scoring has increased, as has the percentage those points represent for the team.
Booker is averaging 27.6 points on the season, and the Suns are averaging 113.3. Those 27.6 points represent 23.8% of the Suns’ scoring average.
Since returning from injury, over 14 games, Booker increased his scoring to 29.4 points per night, and the Suns have likewise gone up to 115.6 points per contest. However, those increases are not proportional, and Booker has carried 25.4% of the scoring load since his return.
Those numbers are even more exacerbated since the All-Star Break and the loss of Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson from the team. Over the last 10 games since the break, Booker scored 31 points per game, 26.5% of the team’s 116.8 points per night.
The scoring load has been made even more difficult because Booker is doing more of this on an un-assisted basis.
In the 10 games since the break, 69.1% of DBook’s two-point field goals have been unassisted. This is up almost seven percent on his season total, where 62.8% of his two-point field goals are unassisted.
In other words, Booker is doing more on his own, which is not necessarily problematic unto itself; however, with the playoffs coming and back from a major injury, Phoenix has to do better to protect Booker and make his scoring easier than it has been, and these three ways will help.