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Devin Booker has 2nd-best odds to win Player of the Seeding Games

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns drives to the basket past Andre Iguodala #28 of the Miami Heat during the second half of an NBA game at Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 8, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images)

Those who are partial to the Phoenix Suns have lobbied for the team’s star, Devin Booker, to get more national respect.

Yes, Booker plays on a team that’s had little success in the past decade, while the guard puts up gaudy numbers in the box score. Is he a stat-padder, or is he someone that actually helps your team win? That’s been the question driving a league-wide narrative.

In that context, make what you will of the fact that Booker, whose Suns were a perfect 7-0 heading into Thursday, was in second place on the odds to win the NBA’s Player of the Seeding Games honor that will be handed out after this eight-game regular season restart in the Orlando bubble is over.

Booker was +200, per, while the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard was first at -300. These odds were released before Thursday’s games.

Credit to Lillard, though, who has bested Booker in most offensive statistical categories while each player has played seven games in the bubble. The 30-year-old Lillard has averaged 37 points, 9.3 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 48.5% shooting. The 23-year-old Booker is averaging 31 points, 6.1 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 49.7% shooting.

Booker’s biggest claims over Lillard are that he hit a wild buzzer-beating shot to propel the Suns to 3-0 and that his team is undefeated. Portland is 5-2.

The oddsmakers, though, seem to see it as almost a guarantee that Booker will make the All-Seeding Games Team, as the odds are 1/5000 for both Booker and Lillard. Former Sun T.J. Warren is 1/2000.

In answering a question unrelated to these betting odds, legendary Suns broadcaster Al McCoy praised Booker when he joined Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf for Suns Day on Thursday.

“He really doesn’t remind me of anybody because he’s so unique at all phases of the game,” McCoy said. “I don’t get too outspoken very often on our broadcasts, but I have had to say a couple of times, he’s not just a good player, he’s a great player. He’s in that category, and it does bother me that Devin Booker doesn’t get the national media recognition, he doesn’t get any recognition from the guys that blow the whistles, and yet he goes out night in and night out with a complete game.

“He’s not just a scorer. He gets assists, his defense is improved. He’s not just a good player. He’s a great player. And really, it would be hard to match him up against any former Suns players. Because he has become so complete the way he handles the game.”

By the way, also gave the Suns 125/1 odds to win the NBA Championship. That’s better odds than they gave the Spurs, Grizzlies, Magic and Nets.

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