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10 assists that illustrate Devin Booker’s ascension as a playmaker

Counting down the best assists from Book so far this season.

Phoenix Suns v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s a little disappointing to think about how little we’ve seen from Devin Booker, the face of this Phoenix Suns franchise, so far this season.

What’s not disappointing is how he’s looked in seven of the eight quarters he’s played. Maybe it’s a little bold for you, but what little we’ve seen had me feeling like this during his too-little, too-late superhuman effort vs. the San Antonio Spurs:

The part of Booker’s game that’s stood out most to me is how evolved his passing looks.

But first, something truly funny to me: Booker is fourth on the team in total assists this season (21) despite playing two games while the rest of the top eight has all played seven. On a per game basis, no one comes near him standing at 10.5 assists per game while Jusuf Nurkic is second with 4.3 per game.

Even more daunting is Booker’s 56.4 assist-percentage, which means more than half of the made buckets while Booker’s on the floor came from a Booker pass. The league leader in that stat among qualified players right now is Tyrese Haliburton — who leads the league in assists per game as well with 12.4 — with 52.5, so Booker would be way ahead there if he played enough games.

So without further ado, here are his 10 best assists so far:

10. Using a slight head fake to manipulate the defense in transition

9. Brings the double deep before passing back out to a popping Nurkic three

8. Durant picks, Nurkic rolls, Booker finds

7. Booker curls under the basket like Steve Nash, sort of jumps and bounces it to Eubanks

6. Faking the pull-up three before passing back to Goodwin who popped for three

5. Driving straight into traffic before threading the needle to a moving Allen

4. Tight window bounce pass in transition

3. Clutch jump pass to an Okogie three

2. Even more clutch pass-out from the double to a rolling Nurkic

1. Hanging-in-the-air wrapping around Wembanyama for a kick to Durant

Overall, there’s an enormous difference in my own personal joy watching this team when Booker’s out there vs. when he’s not. This added dimension of especially advanced passing out of situations where he’s using his handle, eyes, and body to manipulate defenses only magnifies that more.

Just for the sake of my own enjoyment (and of course the well-being of the team), I can’t wait to see him back out there and I’m so excited by the thought of what it’ll look like when he has two stars next to him instead of just one. Sham Charania of The Athletic believes it will be in the next 7 to 10 days. Let’s hope it is sooner.

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