Scoring is everywhere these days and it’s getting crazier at every turn. Here’s a quick perspective: 43 players averaged 20 or more points this season, four times more than what the 2012-13 season had, which was just 10 years ago.
If we filter that 43-man list, however, we can only pinpoint a few who are really elite, scoring machines, and if we do, there’s no arguing that it should contain the name of one Devin Armani Booker.
Despite an injury-plagued year that saw him miss 29 games, the Phoenix Suns’ All-Star guard finished the 2022-23 campaign with career-highs 27.8 points on 49.4% shooting, a great icing alongside 4.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.0 steals per game.
That’s just what you do when you are equipped with a classic scorer’s skillset, backed by a high-level coaching staff, and surrounded by a fine roster. Booker simply has a reliable jumper anywhere on the court and he knows how to get to his favorite spots, which is a headache to defenders because it’s basically the paint, the perimeter, and beyond the arc.
Ever the pure scorer, ‘Book’ has even turned it up a notch once the 2023 playoffs started. In nine postseason games thus far, he’s lighting the opposition for a current-best 36.8 PPG while making 61.7% of his shots, including a 51.5% from downtown. Those are videogame numbers.
StatMuse nicely summed up the insane offensive production in one of their recent tweets:
In the LA Clippers series, where the Suns advanced in five games courtesy of a backdoor sweep, the 26-year-old posted 37.2 PPG, highlighted by two marquee performances.
In the hard-fought Game 3, he had 45 points on 18-for-29 shooting, plus a full line of six rebounds, three assists, three steals, a pair of blocks, and, probably most impressive of all, zero turnovers.
Then, in the closeout Game 5, he tied his playoff career-high with 47 points (31 came in the second half) to go along eight boards and 10 dimes.
The current series with the Denver Nuggets hasn’t been as easy as they fell into a 0-2 hole, but Book stayed Book so his points kept piling up.
While it’s good team effort at the end of the day, Booker’s blistering offensive prowess clearly co-led the tough climb, and it’s now tied at 2-2, officially back to being a series.
Game 4’s series-tying win had Booker go for 36, 17 of which in the third quarter, but it’s his Game 3 burst that was particularly just huge. It was a must-win game so he laid it all out, and by night’s end, he dropped 47 points yet again to tie the playoff-high that he set just 10 days prior.
What makes all of this better is when you remember that he’s doing it alongside Kevin Durant, who’s one of the best and most consistent scorers the game has ever seen. Imagine leading the league in playoff scoring and being able to keep your high-scoring, future Hall-of-Fame superstar teammate happy with his touches.
Let’s see how far Booker can take this hot run. He and the Suns are currently in a great battle with the Nuggets, and they may need to overcome this hurdle without their veteran point guard, Chris Paul. We’ll probably see Book be in ultra-scoring mode moving forward.