Devin Booker suggests NBA should put ‘the best players in’ All-Star Game
PHOENIX — You did not need to be a mind reader to tell at shootaround Friday that Devin Booker was still upset about not being named as an NBA All-Star reserve.
Actually, it was more of the Phoenix Suns guard being that type of mad where you’re just over it.
“It was always a goal of mine (to be an All-Star), but it just reproves the point that the NBA is different than the game that I fell in love with at the beginning — of all the best players in the All-Star game — growing up watching that,” he said. “And now it’s an entertainment-, drama-, political-filled league.
“But we’re a part of it now. It pays well so I guess we should be quiet about it.”
Whew. That’s spicy.
The coach-by-coach results of their voting for seven All-Star reserves are not released, unlike every other part of the All-Star voting process, so it’s not clear which coaches picked which players over Booker.
There’s a strong case that Booker should have been the first reserve guard to make it in the Western Conference, ahead of Donovan Mitchell, Chris Paul, Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook. All four of them made it over Booker.
Lillard (29.0 PPG, 7.8 APG, 46 FG%) is the only player that has comparable stats to Booker (27 PPG, 6 APG, 51 FG%), and their team success is similar (21 wins to 20).
Lillard does have the past pedigree over Booker, and there’s a decent argument he’s been the better player this season.
Regardless, Booker not making it over the other three was a ludicrous assessment if you’ve seen the way Booker has performed this season, even just outside of the statistics that also favor the 23-year-old.
The process making someone like forward Brandon Ingram a necessary addition as the third frontcourt player also looks bad comparing his stats and team next to Booker and the Suns.
With a bit of a laugh, Booker had his suggestion for how to fix the process.
“Put the best players in the game,” he said.
It’s fair for you to interpret those heated quotes how you want, but it’s safe to say this has a lot to do with how disrespected Booker must feel from the coaches of all people — the same coaches that make defensive gameplans based solely on stopping him night in and night out.
Also, as Booker said, this is something that he’s wanted for a while. So, when he’s done just about everything to show he has achieved it and still doesn’t get the recognition, that’s going to sting.
Booker will remain perturbed about this, but he can certainly be that while still knowing and focusing on what matters.
“When I talked to him yesterday he didn’t pout one bit,” head coach Monty Williams said. “And I knew he was disappointed and I knew he was hurt, but his mindset was basically we’ve got bigger fish to fry, let’s move forward. And I’m going to take his lead on that.”