GM McDonough: Suns trying to replace production of injured Devin Booker
The Phoenix Suns are four games into a stretch without Devin Booker that could potentially go past Christmas, and, unsurprisingly, they do not have a win.
While the Suns have worked hard and competed in all four of those games, losing by 10, three, seven and six points in those losses, they are still losses.
Something needs to change, and the easiest place to look is offense without their primary offensive option.
Most eyes went towards fourth-year forward T.J. Warren, who was averaging 18.4 points per game before Booker went down.
While he has stepped up a bit, it’s worth considering how much extra responsibility he now has as general manager Ryan McDonough notes.
“I think T.J. Warren, in particular, is carrying a heavy load,” he said on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Burns & Gambo show.
In the four games, Warren has averaged 20.5 points and is shooting 40 percent from the field in the three more shots a game he is taking (15.5 to 18.8).
Unfortunately for him, there isn’t a clear name to step up in his place as the secondary option.
“I think we’re gonna have to find a secondary scorer to alleviate some of the burden off of T.J. and hopefully that’s a combination of guys,” McDonough said.
So far, it has been that mix, but not for a win.
Fresh off a career-high 32 points against Toronto Wednesday, Troy Daniels is averaging 15.3 points while shooting 50 percent from the field in the Booker-less stretch. Greg Monroe and Mike James are both posting 13.3 points a game and Tyler Ulis is at 10.8.
The problem isn’t necessarily there, but in 3-point shooting, a spacing issue that was already present even with Booker.
Daniels is the only player shooting above 25 percent from deep in those four games and he’s at 43.8 percent.
As a team, they are shooting 27.9 percent on threes in those four games.
With no real solution in sight, the real question is when Booker will be back.
Interim head coach Jay Triano said at practice Friday he doesn’t expect him to practice on the three-game road trip the team is on, which ends on Dec. 20 after a game in Los Angeles against the Clippers.
McDonough said the hope is still sometime around Christmas.
“He’s feeling better, there’s a lot of progress that has been made around there,” he said.