Almost exactly two years ago today, precocious 20-year old Devin Booker led a ragtag Phoenix Suns lineup that included four rookies against Boston’s league-leading defense and dropped 70 points in a 10-point loss that was not as close as the final score.
Now that Phoenix is two years further into their rebuild around Booker, the still-precocious 22 year old Booker... got to lead a ragtag Suns lineup that included not four but FIVE rookies against Utah’s league-leading defense and dropped 59 points in a (gulp) 33 point loss. Booker made 19 of 34 shots.
Booker played the game with
- five rookies (three of whom were taken in the second round)
- Dragan Bender
- Troy Daniels
- Jimmer Fredette.
That’s basically it. They got only 9 minutes of Richaun Holmes before he was ejected for arguing a foul call. Not a single non-rookie would play on any team’s rotation for 20+ minutes.
And yet in his 41 minutes with various four-man combos of that group, the Suns were outscored only by 13 points. Booker assisted on 4 of his teammates 12 made shots.
Booker made 19 shots. The rest of the team made 12. In the seven minutes he wasn’t playing, the Suns were outscored by 20.
The first 47 of Booker’s points kept the Suns in the game. They were outscored by only 13 in his 41 minutes, and the score at the end of the third quarter was 88-74.
And oh yeah, let’s not forget that all Booker needed to add to that roster was a semi-functional NBA level guard in Tyler Johnson and another NBA level wing in Kelly Oubre Jr. he led the Suns to 6 wins in 10 games, including wins over Golden State and Milwaukee in the span of a week, before they got hurt.
So maybe it’s not Booker’s fault?
Yet, that’s what basketball world will think.
Devin Booker is the 1st player in NBA history to score 50 in a game his team lost by 30 or more.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 26, 2019
He is the 3rd player in NBA history to score 50 in a game in which no teammate reached double figures, joining Kobe Bryant and David Robinson.
He’s now made history for the second time, and it’s not a good history to be in. However, there is a silver lining in that Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain have been there before.
So 24 times an NBA player has scored 59-plus in a loss.— Kyle Madson (@KyleAMadson) March 26, 2019
Kemba Walker, 1
Bernard King, 1
Purvis Short, 1
George Gervin, 1
David Thompson, 1
Devin Booker, 2
Michael Jordan, 2
Wilt Chamberlain....... 15!!!!!! https://t.co/MZs8NJ2J1n
So we’re saying there’s a chance that Booker can survive this kind of reputation if the Suns can just get their crap together.
Underrated part of this box score is Booker leading the team in assists while scoring 50 more points than any of his teammates. Feel like that’s gotta be a first https://t.co/1KJhdPW6bB— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) March 26, 2019
Ahh... Rimmer Fredette (courtesy of Bob Young) at least got in his eight second half shots, half of which were blocking Booker getting to 60.
But at least Fredette TRIED to get to double digits in scoring.
Devin Booker (59 points on Monday) is the third player in @NBAHistory to score at least 50 points in a game in which none of his teammates scored 10+ points. He joins David Robinson (71 pts on April 24, 1994, SA at LAC) and Kobe Bryant (62 pts on Dec. 20, 2005, LAL vs. DAL).— Elias Sports Bureau (@EliasSports) March 26, 2019
okay, okay, let’s turn to some positive tweets about Booker from non-Suns fan or media.
Devin Booker is 22; is averaging 26 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds per game; is expected to be a veteran leader on a weird roster; and has improved in each of his four NBA seasons despite absurd uncertainty around him. And there are still people who think he’s actually bad.— Adi Joseph (@AdiJoseph) March 26, 2019
Ready to watch him score?
That final bucket, with three Jazz players draped all over him, was pure magic.