EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Suns’ Williams on Devin Booker not making All-NBA: ‘Pretty much a joke’

Jun 16, 2021, 2:44 PM | Updated: 2:51 pm
Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams talks to guard Devin Booker (1) during the second half of an...

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams talks to guard Devin Booker (1) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Sunday, March 21, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

There is no argument as to whether or not Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker is currently getting more respect.

With the team’s run to the Western Conference Finals and Booker’s stellar play during it, there is a lot more praise being thrown his way, with the “star” label often attached to him.

But that is needed, as Booker still requires more respect to get on more radars after spending years in mostly irrelevancy on very bad Suns teams.

That has been reflected a few times, such as when Booker was not initially voted as an All-Star this season, and on Tuesday when he was not named to any of the three All-NBA teams.

Booker not only failed to get one of the six guard spots but finished 10th overall in the voting at his position. The argument for him was strong, with 25.6 points per game, great shooting efficiency and solid defense on the league’s second-best team in the regular season.

As always, however, it’s a tight squeeze to get on those teams.

Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal was the NBA’s second-leading scorer while Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving had a 50/40/90 season on 27-5-6 averages. They earned the last two spots on Third Team All-NBA.

Beal was also on the 34-38 Wizards and Irving missed 18 games. Arguments can go both ways.

On Wednesday, Suns head coach Monty Williams was speaking on his daily conversations with Chris Paul and let their opinions on the matter be known.

“Talk to Chris every day. That’s pretty much how it’s been all year long,” Williams said. “We’re talking about the game, things we can do better as a team, family, advice about stuff. He and I were both ticked off last night that Book wasn’t on the All-NBA team. That’s pretty much a joke.

“And I’m just beside myself that we didn’t have anybody on the All-Defensive team. Those are the things we’ve talked about the last day or so.”

Booker was a historic omission. He and Donovan Mitchell became only the second and third players in league history to not make an All-NBA team while averaging at least 25 points per game on a team with a top-2 record, per ESPN Stats and Info.

Teams that win to that degree are often awarded accolades, but that has seemingly evaded the Suns outside of Paul being named to Second Team All-NBA.

As Williams mentioned, Phoenix did not have any player make either All-Defense team. Wing Mikal Bridges felt like a decent bet to receive the honor and Paul had a case, but Bridges finished with the most votes of someone to not earn a spot while Paul was eighth in total votes among guards.

Philadelphia 76ers wing Matisse Thybulle was the nod on the second team that stood out the most. While Thybulle is certainly one of the best defenders in the NBA, he played 20.0 minutes per game and started eight of his 65 games.

Bridges, meanwhile, played and started in every game this season at 32.6 minutes per game. That kept alive his current league-best ironman streak of most consecutive games played at 227, all while guarding the opposing team’s best perimeter option every night.

Williams was snubbed on his own as well, losing out on Coach of the Year to the New York Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau. The Suns had a 35-win turnaround, going from five games under .500 last season to 30 games over this year.

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