clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Devin Booker is a legitimate MVP candidate

It’s time to recognize this is a fact.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The tides are changing, and the court of public opinion is changing as well. The Phoenix Suns’ All-Star guard Devin Booker is getting a lot of attention after a fantastic 49-point, 10-assist performance against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night. With eight games remaining in the season, or little over three weeks of regular season basketball, it’s not impossible for Devin Booker to win the third MVP award in Phoenix Suns history.

Human nature tends to lead people in the direction in which they are most comfortable. People dislike admitting when they are mistaken. And for a long time, a lot of people have been mistaken about Devin Booker. He was a “looter in a riot”, a “good stats, bad team” player, and someone who isn’t glamorous enough to be considered for the NBA’s most prized player award.

Simply look at Rosalyn Gold-Onwude’s take on ESPN just yesterday. I’m not going to go into how bad this take was. I’ll let SunsGeek break that down for you:

With the analysis, you can watch Matt Barnes’ skin crawl. He doesn’t chuck enough threes? He doesn’t play defense? His dunks aren’t flashy enough? He’s outside of the top 10 in scoring?

Entering Thursday night’s affair with Denver, Devin Booker was 11th in the league in scoring. Following his 49-point drubbing of the Nuggets, he is 9th. Oh, and he jumped Nikola Jokic to get there. Is that good enough for you, Rosalyn?

Again, people don’t like being proven wrong, and will vehemently maintain their story even if it no longer makes sense. Take a look at how politics has impacted our lives. Maybe I’m doing the same thing by proposing Devin Booker as a possible MVP candidate. Do I think he’ll come out on top? I don’t. NBA voters do not value what he’s doing right now. VROP, PER, and WAR are more important to them.

This always creates a debate about what it means to be most valuable. Is it the most talented player on the most talented team? If that’s the case, Devin Booker is your undisputed champion. Just ask NBA Hall of Famer Isaiah Thomas, who is leading the charge for D Book.

Others view the MVP trophy in the literal sense. Most valuable. Who is this team if they are without the services of this player? This is the argument you will hear for Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Giannis Antetokounmpo as we near the end of the regular season. Both are valid perceptions of what the award is and means.

You can see what an MVP caliber guy is when you watch performances like Devin Booker’s versus the Nuggets. Just look at this sequence and tell me that this guy is a complete player. This could potentially be his “Heisman moment”, the clip they’ll play at the award ceremony when he hoists the trophy.

When you put in the kind of effort that is demonstrated here, you will be noticed. That has been Booker’s difficulty throughout his career. He doesn’t have a lot of highlights on his resume, other from a couple of buzzer-beaters (think Bubble vs. the Clippers). That is why ESPN isn’t in his corner.

However, when you hustle and outplay your opponent as Booker did last night in Denver, the narrative shifts. This comes on the heels of statements from both sides about his MVP potential.

Vegas is starting to notice the sway in the narrative. The odds are changing. If you look at sportsbettingdime.com, you’ll see the odds for Devin Booker throughout the season. Just three days ago they had him at +11250.

Devin Booker was +3000 in the MVP voting this morning on DraftKings. That’s quite a leap, and it serves as a litmus test for his validity. The tides are turning once more. The probabilities are tilting in that direction.

Fellow NBA players have expressed their admiration and provided insight into who they believe is the league’s most valuable player.

While the prospects of Devin Booker winning an MVP this season are small, I am happy and delighted that he is even being considered. He scored 70 points in a loss to the Boston Celtics just five years ago. The abilities he showed that night, as well as his intensity, ferocity, and competitive spirit, were a forerunner to the Devin Booker we see now.

He assisted and carried his team when Chris Paul was out. He took advantage of the time he was allotted to display how truly valuable he is to the Phoenix Suns. He is valuable to his organization. To his teammates. To the fan base. To the community.

We’ll all be watching the MVP contest unfold. On Sunday afternoon in Phoenix, there will be another chance to sway NBA voters. The Philadelphia 76ers will be in town, led by MVP favorite Joel Embiid. Devin Booker will have to pass another another test in order to gain the respect of NBA voters, which he has lacked throughout his career.

I’m sure Devin Booker is aware of this. Be prepared to be treated to an outstanding Booker performance (he’s averaged 29.3 points in 13 career games against Philly).

I believe it is time for Phoenix fans to voice their opinions on Twitter. Let’s put it in the universe. #BookerForMVP