The Ringer: A Devin Booker experiment that would mimic Harden

Jan 3, 2019, 11:23 AM
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) goes up for a shot between Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier an...
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) goes up for a shot between Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier and guard Jerian Grant (22) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

What Houston Rockets star and former ASU guard James Harden is doing from behind the 3-point arc isn’t just unprecedented — it could spark a strategy for the next generation.

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is one of the best-suited players to test it out.

That’s the main synopsis of an article on The Ringer, which called Harden’s uncanny number of 3-point attempts a potential “archetype” for big guards.

Entering Thursday, Harden is averaging 11.9 3-point attempts per game, which would break the record set by Steph Curry in 2015-16 of 11.2 per game. But Harden’s barrage over the last five games has been groundbreaking: While averaging 41.8 points per game, he has attempted 16.4 3-pointers per contest.

According to the Ringer, there have only been 48 games in which a player attempted at least 17 shots from behind the arc.

The article then goes on to hypothesize that Booker might be the next player to make a similar leap.

“There are a couple of key identifiers: The next Harden should be a bigger guard who has shown the ability to shoot 3s off the dribble, make plays for others, and get to the free throw line.”

At 6-foot-6, Booker is averaging 25.5 points and 7.2 assists per game. He is averaging the ninth-most 3-point attempts per game and his 6.0 free throw attempts is fifth-most among guards.

The Suns have already given ample time to the “Point Book” with the 22-year-old manning the floor.

Booker has exhibited the ability to facilitate and get teammates involved. The Ringer said the Suns are attempting to build a “proto-version of the Rockets with Booker in the Harden role.”

“Booker has developed an unfair reputation as a player who puts up empty stats on bad teams. He’s no longer just a gunner. He makes players around him better, and the Suns have been playing significantly better basketball over the past few weeks.”

Seventeen 3-point attempts per game is extreme. But if Harden continues this trend and the Rockets prove they can be as competitive as last season behind his unorthodox styles, Booker could be in position to test his own limits, too.

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The Ringer: A Devin Booker experiment that would mimic Harden