It may be a tad early to be talking about the NBA All-Star Game, but the conversation has already started in my head and on the last few episodes of the Suns JAM Session podcast. I like to worry and consider things that I can’t control.
Devin Booker is off to a slow start. Or is he? The numbers might say different from what we are watching night in and night out from the 2x All-Star. If it isn’t the numbers, then its the teams success in the past. All we can do is trust Booker and his performance on the court but can we trust the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver to get him to the All-Star game year in and year out?
The conspiracy is that the All-Star Game is fixed and the fan voting really doesn’t matter. I find the conspiracy to be true after years of Booker being passed over as a reserve.
“Good stats, bad team guy”
The phrase referring to Booker year after year became nauseating and repetitive.
Year 2018-19. It seemed like that was the year Booker was going to first be named an All-Star.
24.6 pts, 6.7 asts, and 4 rebs per-game was still not enough. Missing 15 of the first 59 games of the season probably didn’t help Booker, but he was not used to playing in a consistent fashion after having to tank years before.
We all hoped that this would have been the year... but no. Maybe next year?
Year 2019-20. This was the year, even if it didn’t come in the most traditional form. Booker made the game as a reserve but was also a replacement. Due to the injury of Damian Lillard who mentioned Booker by name as a possible replacement. Booker was in.
His stats heading into the 2019-20 all-star break?
26.4 pts, 6.3 asts, 4.2 rebs.
The trend continued the next year during the 2020-21 season catching a break and making the game as another reserve. Chris Paul was able to make the game but Suns fans were furious that the league did not choose Booker. So when will Booker do enough to be a trendy name year after year? It is still currently a deep front-court in the West and is only getting deeper.
Who are players that are currently in front of Booker this early in the season?
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Ja Morant
Oklahoma City Thunder might surprise the NBA this year by racking up more wins than expected. Hovering around .500 and the fact that SGA missed the All-Star nod last year might play into him making his debut this year.
Like SGA, Ja, in his fourth year, has already been a spark that NBA needs. Leading a team to a .500 record and throwing around stats that currently stick out at 26.5 pts, 6.3 ast, 5 rebs per-game, that might be all that the elites need to see to give him the thumbs up.
The NBA is always looking for the next young face and both these men are next up.
Luka Doncic, Donovan Mitchell, Chris Paul, Steph Curry, and Damian Lillard
These names are all guaranteed in and represent too much to the NBA not to have them representing the Western Conference. Until the conferences go away, we will always worry that Book will end up on the bubble every year.
Booker of course, with his tribute to Kobe Bryant in the NBA’s 75th anniversary commercial is taking part in something special. Fans now know his name, and what he brought to the game in The Finals last year. But he might still be overshadowed by Chris Paul.
Paul’s name made the list of guaranteed players and when it comes to representing the Suns in this year’s All-Star Game, it might come to that again. For the second year in a row, we are worried about Bookers slower start to the season, and the chances that it hurts his appearance in becoming a reserve can still be questioned.
The slow start might not matter. His numbers are close to where they always have been and the Suns are winning! That should be enough, right?
If Booker were to miss the game again this year or a replacement, is he one of the most disrespected players in the league currently or to ever play the game? His career is still young, but by this point I would have thought that he would be a shoo-in every year.