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Respect to his name: Devin Booker makes The Ringer’s early top-25

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) drives around Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins (22) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Devin Booker is actually good.

Unlike the past few years, when the high-volume scorer put up his numbers for a fumbling Phoenix Suns team, Booker is getting his due credit in 2019-20. People aren’t questioning his goodness at basketball.

As to how good he’s been, the NBA staff at The Ringer tried to quantify it. They made a list of the top 25 players in the NBA through about 25 games so far this season, and Booker came in at a respectable 14th.

Here’s what Zach Kram wrote on the Phoenix shooting guard:

Booker is touching the ball fewer times this season than last (61 times per game, versus 76) with a real point guard in Ricky Rubio sharing the backcourt, but he’s traded that extra responsibility for greater efficiency as a scorer. Among players with a 25 percent usage rate this season, only Towns has a better true shooting percentage than Booker, who is one spot ahead of James Harden. Rubio is funneling his Phoenix teammate better shots—more than half of Booker’s made field goals have been assisted, versus 36 percent last season—and Booker is taking advantage, while retaining plenty of creative oomph, too. He still averages north of six assists per game as Phoenix has climbed from the bottom half of the league to first in team assist rate.

The box score numbers haven’t dropped off much for Booker this season after he posted his most productive campaign in 2018-19.

Booker is averaging 25 points, 6.4 assists and 3.9 rebounds per outing. Respectively, those three categories have dropped just 1.6 points, 0.4 assists and 0.2 rebounds from a year ago, when he had the ball in his hands much more often.

Through Wednesday, Booker’s shooting of 50.7% overall, 40.6% from three-point range and 90.3% at the foul stripe are all easily career highs.

All that efficiency has helped Phoenix to a 11-13 start.

How does Booker rank in The Ringer’s list compared to other stars?

He’s behind Sixers center Joel Embiid (11th), Celtics point guard Kemba Walker (12th) and Wizards guard Bradley Beal (13th).

Booker is just ahead of Clippers swingman Paul George (15th), Hawks point guard Trae Young (16th), 76ers point-forward Ben Simmons (17th) and Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (18th).

That’s all pretty darn good company.

It turns out Booker is actually good after all.


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