New Suns roster has options, but Booker still needs to prove he’s a star

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

My dad used to have a saying, "In life a lot of doors will open and close for you. Just make sure you’re not the one closing them". The idea was to always keep your options open. Good advice that applies even to basketball. That’s the reason coaches tell players not to pick up their dribble until its absolutely necessary.

This Phoenix Suns roster looks a lot different than any Suns roster in a decade. They’re not projected to be anywhere near the playoffs, but they are three deep at nearly every position. The most exciting part of the roster construction for me is that the players skill sets rarely overlap. This gives Monty Williams options to mix and match all season depending on matchups and injuries.

Past years the Suns hope was always put into whichever 19 year old rookie they drafted. If that 19 year old rookie wasn’t ready to produce then the backup plan was the following years rookie. The results were what we could have expected..

Now preseason is over and we can finally look forward to the regular season. We saw a lot of good, some bad and are left wondering how much data from preseason we can extrapolate into the regular season. Will DeAndre Ayton not attempt a free throw all season? Is Frank Kaminsky the new Channing Frye? Will we see as many big lineups where two of Kaminsky/Ayton/Baynes are on the floor at the same time?

The one question I have is the same one I had after the offseason moves were solidified: Can Devin Booker elevate this team and prove he’s a superstar. All of his critics remain firmly in their corners. We’ve heard them all before so I won’t rehash it here. But now his excuses are gone. He has a legitimate NBA roster around him. He’s getting paid max money for the first time in his career and so the max expectations are justified. The ball is in Booker’s court now.

Preseason Booker didn’t do much to answer the criticisms. Stats don’t matter in preseason, but Booker looked a little out of place in an offense that actually has a strategy. Part of that was by design as coaches tried to involve other players to set roster decisions. Part of that was because preseason isn’t real basketball. But a part of that is because Booker has picked up habits from playing on an intentionally dysfunctional roster for four years.

I’m a Booker believer. As a lifelong Suns fan, I’ve never seen the Suns have a player like Booker before. But this is the biggest year in Devin Booker’s career. He needs to elevate this Suns roster. The roster is constructed to go as far as Devin Booker’s ceiling will allow. You’re a max player now, Book. Time to see how far you can take us.