If the season is indeed over for the Phoenix Suns and the statistics stand as they are, Devin Booker just submitted one of the most potent offensive seasons in recent NBA history.
Yes, he made his first all-star appearance and helped lead Phoenix to the third-highest win percent increase (+16.8) in the NBA this season, yet somehow it still feels as though he had an underappreciated season by the mainstream media.
Booker is currently 10th in the NBA in points per game at 26.1 per game. From the group of the top-10 scorers in the league, he ranks second only behind Damian Lillard in True shooting percentage. Not only is he scoring at a high volume while demanding suffocating defensive attention, but he’s doing it at an elite level of efficiency that groups him with some historic company.
Devin Booker (23) is the youngest player in NBA history to average greater than 26 PPG, 6 APG, 4 RPG on a true shooting percentage of 60 or higher.
The only other three players to do this age 25 or younger:
- Michael Jordan (25)
- LeBron James (25)
- James Harden (25)
Booker also had the highest true shooting percentage of this elite group.
To put into context how special of a year Devin Booker was having:
Only 14 times in NBA history has a player ever finished a season where they averaged greater than 26 PPG, 6 APG, 4 REB on a 61 TS% or higher. He is also by far the youngest on this list.
If you lower the criteria to greater than 25 PPG, 5 APG, 4 RPG, on 60% true shooting and search for age 25 and younger, here’s the list for that:
As you can see, Booker is not only putting up historically efficient numbers for his age, but his level of volume and efficiency stacks him head-to-head with some of the greatest offensive talents in league history.
Unfortunately the Suns are going to miss the playoffs again barring some last-minute bizzare playoff format that includes every team in the league.
This will be the fifth season of Devin Booker’s career, and fifth season that he is excluded from the postseason. Yes, Phoenix improved dramatically from the previous year and showed flashes where they looked like a legitimate playoff contender, but there are still plenty of roster upgrades that need to be made to get them there in the vaunted Western Conference.
This image below should give Suns fans a glimmer of hope, as the five man lineup of Ricky Rubio, Devin Booker, Kelly Oubre Jr., Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton had the second-highest net rating in the entire league (minimum 200 minutes played).
The pressure is on for James Jones, and next season could be a make-or-break year for Devin Booker’s level of happiness in Phoenix.
If they aren’t playing meaningful games late in the season or fighting for a playoff spot at the very least by next year, things could get ugly. This is of course my own speculation, because Booker has said and done all the right things to this point, but patience can only last so long for even the best of us.