EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Devin Booker unbothered by criticism; Suns not shutting Warren down yet

Apr 1, 2019, 11:42 AM | Updated: 11:43 am
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) shoots as Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) defends during ...
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) shoots as Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, March 25, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

PHOENIX — The beauty of the internet (in a bad way) is that you can find just about any take if you look hard enough.

But sometimes a discussion point becomes relevant enough that it enters the national conversation.

On Twitter, both the argument of how good Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker is and the absurdity of considering him actually being bad has engulfed the conversation of a 22-year-old who scored 59, 50 and 48 points in three games over six days.

Booker doing so on a 17-60 team has many quick to try and tarnish the legitimacy of the achievement.

You’re not going to believe this, but that’s not something Booker pays any attention to.

“Negative critics — they’re doing a job,” he said after shootaround Monday. “I’ve never understood it so I just don’t put energy towards it, honestly.”

The criticism is all over the place, from accusations the Suns don’t care if they win games to claims Booker is “stat-padding.” Those with the proper optics could see on Saturday in a five-point loss to the Memphis Grizzlies that the two-guard was thorough in trying to get his teammates involved, always looking to make the right pass if he had too much defensive attention focused on him.

Booker said he has people around him bring up those critical takes from time to time, and his upset friends are surprised it doesn’t faze him.

As he has said ever since he reached a certain level as a leader of the Suns, Booker is only concerned with winning.

“There’s always things that you can work on in this game of basketball,” he said. “Once you understand that and work towards that, I think that’s how you become the best player you can be.”

INJURY ROUNDUP

— Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov was asked Monday if the team is shutting down forward T.J. Warren, who is once again ruled out for Monday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Kokoskov said they are not and Warren is improving.

Warren has been listed as out with right ankle soreness, and both Kokoskov and Warren said it’s due to a bone bruise.

This is now 29 straight games Warren has missed with only four games left in the season.

— Kokoskov provided no further update on the status of Deandre Ayton, who sprained his left ankle in Saturday’s loss and was already ruled out for Monday. Richaun Holmes will start in Ayton’s place.

— Two-way contract wing George King was seen getting shots up after shootaround.

King has missed time recently due to a right ankle injury, and with the Suns missing Kelly Oubre Jr. and Warren, the team could certainly use King as an option.

Kokoskov said King has made “huge progress” in coming back from the injury but would not give a status of a potential return.

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