PHOENIX SUNS

Suns’ Devin Booker ranked just within top 50 of SI’s Top 100 NBA players

Sep 11, 2018, 10:07 AM
(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)...
(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Sports Illustrated released Nos. 50-31 of its Top 100 NBA Players of 2019 Tuesday, and Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker came in at No. 50.

In his third season in the NBA, Booker averaged 24.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game, which was good enough to earn a five-year, $158 million extension with the Suns this summer. Only four active players averaged as many points as Booker in their respective age-21 seasons: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Karl-Anthony Towns, as SI pointed out.

The article commended Booker for improving his offensive efficiency in spite of the Suns’ organizational issues.

The Suns have thrown every conceivable monkey wrench at Booker (24.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 4.7 APG) during his three seasons: changing coaches, trading away veterans, tanking for months, and whiffing on high draft picks. The 21-year-old shooting guard has responded in admirable fashion, improving his overall efficiency and becoming one of the highest-scoring young prospects in recent memory.

While the rankings praised Booker’s improvement in efficiency, they did, however, criticize his lack of defensive effort.

Phoenix has had a worse defensive rating with Booker on the court than with him off the court in each of his three seasons, and he ranked outside the NBA’s top 200 players by Real Plus-Minus in 2017-18. If he played one-on-one against himself, the game would continue for hours because he would never get a stop. If he played for a better team, he would be hunted mercilessly in the playoffs.

Phoenix begins its 2018-2019 campaign at home Oct. 17 against the Dallas Mavericks, but Booker is expected to miss the first few games of the season. Over the weekend, Booker underwent surgery on his hand, and his expected recovery time is around six weeks.

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver walks on the court to congratulate players after the t...
Arizona Sports

Suns call unpublished story accusing owner Robert Sarver of sexism, racism full of ‘lies’

The Suns released a statement in response to an unpublished story that accuses owner Robert Sarver of racism, sexism and sexual harassment.
17 hours ago
Kevin Zimmerman

Jerry Colangelo: Wait on contract part of Suns C Deandre Ayton’s growth

Jerry Colangelo understands how the business world works. He is optimistic about the Suns' lack of a contract extension with Deandre Ayton.
17 hours ago
Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns laughs with Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the...
Wills Rice

Steve Nash, Chris Paul among Phoenix Suns players on NBA 75 team

The NBA released a list of the top players of all time for its 75th anniversary of the league, one that included current and former Suns players.
2 days ago
Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., center, is pressured by Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns have uncharacteristic defensive performance vs. Nuggets

The Phoenix Suns made defensive mistakes in bunches against the Denver Nuggets in the loss for the season opener.
17 hours ago
Houston Rockets guard Daishen Nix (15) and Toronto Raptors forward Ishmail Wainright (12) grapple f...
Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns sign forward Ishmail Wainright to 2-way contract

The Phoenix Suns have signed forward Ishmail Wainright to a two-way contract, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
2 days ago
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) battles Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) for the ball...
Jake Anderson

Suns’ Deandre Ayton ‘disappointed’ on contract but focused on Finals run

The dispute between the Suns and Deandre Ayton's contract extension comes down to the year amount, with the center wanting a five-year deal.
3 days ago
Suns’ Devin Booker ranked just within top 50 of SI’s Top 100 NBA players