Following up on this weekend’s post about Devin Booker’s overall defensive impact for the Phoenix Suns, his individual improvements were clear in the clutch against Jalen Brunson ahead of his game-winner vs. the New York Knicks on Sunday.
Brunson came into the fourth quarter with 30 points on 20 shots and seven assists. In the fourth, he had just five points on five shots with only one assist. Here’s a look at how the Suns guarded him late — and how Booker was the best at doing so.
here are all the on-ball actions from jalen brunson in the final six minutes vs. suns. notice the difference in how well devin booker's able to guard them compared to the other defenders.— Damon Allred (@iamdamonallred) November 27, 2023
(apologies for one of the book clips being cut shorter than ideal because my feed lagged) pic.twitter.com/PUHuEmghNb
Booker’s gotten so good at using his size and footwork to lock down smaller, crafty players. He also continues to show no fear in taking the hardest assignment on the floor, something I believe really started to solidify during his gold medal run with Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics three summers ago.
I also can’t help but notice that Brunson was taken out for defensive purposes on the Suns’ final possession, which ended in a Booker bucket regardless. That sort of move may have happened with Booker earlier in his career, but not anymore now.
He’s proven that his elite defense matched with even better offense makes him one of the league’s best players overall on a night-in and night-out basis.