Triano makes big switch, puts Devin Booker at PG in Suns’ starting lineup
With the lack of a scoring punch for the Phoenix Suns’ offense when being run by Tyler Ulis and Isaiah Canaan, it was always a question if interim head coach Jay Triano would ever give Devin Booker extended time at point guard.
While it’s not a major indicator of that, necessarily, he will at least be making the start there.
Troy Daniels moves into the shooting guard role and Ulis heads back to the bench for Friday night’s game against the New York Knicks, Booker’s initial test run as a floor general.
“It’s been something I’ve wanted to look at for a while,” Triano said before the game. “We’ve played Devin at point guard late in games so let’s see how it looks early in the game.”
The natural follow-up, of course, was the defensive concern.
Booker has always struggled on that end, and Daniels has arguably been worse this season. With Booker moving to point guard, he will have even more defensive responsibility and be asked to stay in front of the fastest position in the league.
Triano doesn’t see the reason to worry compared to what the Suns had before the switch.
“I think Devin does a good job fighting over screens,” Triano said.
“We’ve seen earlier in the year how he can defend and I think he’s on par with everybody else on our team, so I don’t think it will be a factor defensively at that spot or Troy.”
Triano said the move doesn’t have the guarantee of being permanent.
“It could be this game, it could be a month, it could be five minutes,” he said, calling it “not a big thing” and claiming that who starts isn’t much of a big deal.
Triano said Booker won’t spend the entire game at the position and will play a lot of shooting guard.
What the move does do is get the ball in Booker’s hands even more, which isn’t the worst idea given the season the 21-year-old is having.
He has put up All-Star numbers, averaging 24.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. He’s also the only player on the team that can consistently create positive looks off the dribble, which adds a new dynamic to the offense.
The game adds a certain level of intrigue to Booker’s role, as while he has spent time playing point guard, no lineup featuring him without any of the Suns’ four point guards this season has played over 12 minutes, per nba.com.