Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker has, for the second time this season, has earned the Western Conference Player of the Week honors. It is the fifth time in his career that he has garnered the honor, doing so earlier this season and three times last season.
NBA Players of the Week for Week 13: Suns guard Devin Booker and Cavaliers guard Darius Garland.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 17, 2022
It was a viral week for Devin as he posted 27 points-per-game while leading the Phoenix Suns to a 3-0 record during the period. He did so posting 46.4%/36.0%/76.9% splits and averaging 4.3 rebounds and 8.3 assists. The Suns currently have the best record in the NBA.
It wasn’t the most statistically dominating week of Booker’s career, but it was an eventful week nonetheless.
The week began in Toronto with Booker dropping a mere 16 points against the Raptors in a slugfest that ultimately went to the Suns. Booker will be remembered not for his performance, however, but for the shenanigans that occurred during his last two points. As he stood at the free throw line in an empty Scotiabank Arena, he was distracted by the Raptors mascot during his free throw attempt (which he made).
He pointed out the mascot’s antics behind the basket to the refereeing crew and ultimately the mascot moved to the corner baseline for his next attempt (also a make).
Devin Booker upset that the Raptors mascot, the only fan in the building, is behind the hoop distracting him with the game on the line. Refs send him to timeout in the corner. pic.twitter.com/F9zLGPPD5D— Miles Wobridges (@WorldWideWob) January 12, 2022
This began a viral response about the feud, the distraction, and the mascot.
What made these interactions so fun was how Booker handled the situation. Taking a page from the Ricky Rubio book of “never too high, never too low”, Booker enjoyed the banter and did not take it personally. He did not respond in the post-game with rage or frustration about the situation that occurred, rather, he laughed it off, noting that he and the mascot “hashed it out”.
Devin Booker and the Raptor have set aside their differences. pic.twitter.com/4i9r62q0kQ— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 12, 2022
Devin Booker later changed his Twitter profile picture to that of the Raptors mascot, and the mascot in turn did the same.
Booker and the Suns then visited the Indiana Pacers and beat them by 18 points. Devin scored 35 points on 11-of-25 shooting, including 6-of-18 from beyond the arc. He added 3 assists and 4 rebounds.
It was an impressive performance in which you could see that Devin had used the fuel from the spotlight created by the mascot incident to propel his efforts. Yes, the Pacers even had a blow up dinosaur in the crowd in an effort to “distract” Booker.
In his postgame interview, Booker provided another quality sound bite as he addressed his social media engagement, the “Mamba Mentality”, and a brief dig on those who make the comparisons. Another quality Devin Booker moment!
"I am not Kobe Bryant."— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 15, 2022
D-Book responds to criticism about calling out Raptors mascot and not having a Mamba Mentality pic.twitter.com/AnDZh2w8gx
He ended his week in his home state of Michigan and, as secondary scorer Deandre Ayton left early with an ankle sprain, Devin once again went into Armani Mode. He scored 30 points in the 27-point victory over the Pistons, doing so on 11-of-18 shooting. He was playfully chirping with the crowd and hitting high-degree-of-difficulty shots throughout the game.
Overall, it was another stellar week for Devin. Sprinkle in the engagement factor and hopefully Booker will see a bump in those All-Star votes! Congrats to Devin for not only leading his team to wins, but to do so in a fun manner that reflects well on the team and the franchsie.