Two games into their second-round series, it appeared that Denver Nuggets would go on to cruise past the already shorthanded Phoenix Suns after Nikola Jokic and company dominated their way to a 2-0 lead, and Chris Paul exited the end of Game 2 with an apparent groin injury.
With their backs against the wall, a severely shallow talent pool, and their sage leader sidelined, the Suns, and more specifically, Devin Booker, have answered the call and erased all doubt that this would be a quick series.
While Kevin Durant was instrumental in the Suns’ five-point win on Sunday to tie up the series at 2-2, Devin Booker has remained the most constant force for Phoenix throughout the entirety of their postseason run so far.
KD had 36 points on just 19 shots in Game 4, but Booker still outplayed the former MVP and scoring champion, matching his point output on one less field goal attempt.
Durant may not have even been in a position to turn his series averages around on Sunday had Booker not carried them to victory in Game 3. He still wound up with 39 points, but KD was far from his normally efficient self en route to their crucial win to prevent a crushing 0-3 series deficit.
He finished his Game 3 with just 12 makes on 31 attempts, but was able to supplement his scoring with 16 trips to the free-throw line.
Phoenix will need Durant to be himself for the remainder of this series if they want to have any hope of advancing to the Western Conference Finals. While their ceiling is solely dependent on how KD can perform as a scorer, Devin Booker has been the force driving this Suns team as far as they’ve gone, and he’s mostly had to do so by himself.
Through nine games so far in the 2023 playoffs, Book is averaging a ridiculous 36.8 points, and his efficiency has been even more impressive.
With 62 percent shooting from the floor, 51 percent from beyond the arc, and 87 percent from the stripe, the former Kentucky Wildcat is having an unprecedented scoring run, matched only by Michael Jordan in output and in a tier entirely of his own in terms of shooting percentages.
Regardless of how the Suns finish their postseason, it’s clear that Devin Booker has taken a significant step forward in his development and within the hierarchy of NBA stars.
It’s time to start having the conversation that DEVIN BOOKER is a TOP 10 player in the NBA right now. https://t.co/xI2De9LELV
— JA (@JABridgeforth) May 8, 2023
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| Title: Devin Booker established himself as top 10 NBA player
| Author: Andy Quach
| Date: April 30, 2023