Across September, Valley of the Suns has delivered predicted stat lines for all 16 players currently contracted to the Phoenix Suns for the 2022-23 season.
With increased defensive intensity and growing playmaking skills, Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker elevated into true MVP contention last season. The smooth two-guard finished fourth in voting behind finalists Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo,
With a lot of uncertainty and off-court issues surrounding the franchise going into this season, Booker’s importance will be as profound as ever. This is a superstar league and team success is often predicated on how far the best player can take them.
Devin Booker will again prove the key to the Phoenix Suns 2022-23 season, with the 25-year-old on the verge of his optimal prime.
Despite his career-best season in 2021-22, Booker, like all his teammates, finished the season on a sour note. He recorded just 30 points on a disappointing 9-for-31 from the floor over the fatal game six and seven against the Dallas Mavericks in the second-round.
But as the Suns look to manage an ageing Chris Paul, the responsibility and opportunities for Booker could elevate even more. We know who he is as a scorer; he averages an astonishing 23.5 points on his career. Now it’s about the further development of other offensive aspects as he becomes the full-fledged conductor of the Suns offense.
We saw what Booker was able to do in a brief period without Paul last season; he averaged 28.2 points, 7 assists and 4.6 rebounds in 11 games without him. As a result, earlier in the offseason we delved into whether Booker could morph into a James Harden like player; originally a two-guard who eventually became a singular offensive force that was a perennial MVP contender.
Booker made giant strides defensively last season, recording a positive defensive box score plus-minus (DBPM) for the first time in his career. With the loss of Jae Crowder from the starting lineup, further defensive improvement from Booker could help maintain Phoenix’s standing as a top three defense in the league.
Overall, while it’s important the Suns see what they have with other young players like Deandre Ayton, Cameron Johnson and Mikal Bridges, don’t be surprised if Booker’s offensive usage rate again climbs as he posts another career-best season.
Predicted statistical averages – 34.6 minutes, 27.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.4 blocks, 2.8 turnovers, 46.1% FG, 37.9% 3PT