Don’t discount this fact with any yeah-buts. We are witnessing the best 9-game postseason run in the NBA’s 76 year history, folks.
Through the first 9 games of the Phoenix Suns 2023 playoff run, 26-year old three-time All-Star Devin Booker has scored 331 points — the most by any player in this postseason so far, and the most by any NBA player since Michael Jordan in 1990 as the Bulls went on their first championship run.
The only players with more points in any 9-game stint in the playoff history are Jerry West (1965), Michael Jordan (1988, 1989, 1990), Wilt Chamberlain (1962) and Elgin Baylor (1961).
Despite one of those being the greatest of all time, one being the NBA’s logo, and the other two being big men who scored at the basket, NONE of them scored with the efficiency of Devin Booker so far. Booker is making 61.7% of his shot attempts so far, and the next closest is Jordan at 54%.
ESPN’s Tim McMahon used the ‘true shooting’ stat to highlight Booker’s exploits, but even straight shooting percentage does it too.
Nobody has ever scored more than 300 points on 70% true shooting in the first 9 games of a postseason until Devin Booker.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) May 8, 2023
ESPN story on the Suns superstar’s historic groove: https://t.co/l5KfkoZuYR
Book is doing it with less. His shot attempts (209) to get those 331 points are the second-fewest among these luminaries, and his free throw attempts (54) are the fewest among all of them by at least 33.
How is Booker doing this, you ask?
Well, he’d already set a record for postseason scoring in a player’s first-ever playoff run two years ago (2021) with 601 points in 22 games. That had cleared the next highest first-run scorer by nearly 80 points.
Now he’s joining the all-time greats.
Many, including Booker, would give credit to Kevin Durant for sucking defenses away from him so he can feast on single coverage. But you need to remember this is Durant’s 12th playoff run. He’s played alongside league MVP’s in James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry and All-Stars Klay Thompson and Kyrie Irving. None of them have scored at the level that Devin Booker is scoring right now.
You can say the Suns are simply a two-trick pony, so Booker is getting these points because ‘someone has to’, but that’s a lot of baloney too. If Booker was guardable, he’d be getting guarded better.
Let’s just appreciate this Booker run while it’s happening. Here’s Booker’s Game 4 on Sunday night to help pull the Suns back to 2-2 in their series against the top-seeded Nuggets.
Book’s been in the valley for eight seasons. He’s taken the Suns to the playoffs the last three years, including the NBA Finals once (tied for most by any player in franchise history, actually), made first-team All-NBA a year ago, and made the All-Star team three times.
He is quite possibly already the greatest Phoenix Suns player of all time.
Take a few moments to share your favorite Book memory here in the comments section as we wait for Game 5 tonight in Ball Arena.