PHOENIX SUNS

Suns’ Chris Paul, Devin Booker crack Sports Illustrated’s top 20 players of 2021-22

Sep 22, 2021, 7:00 PM | Updated: Sep 23, 2021, 12:26 pm

After an NBA Finals run last season, Chris Paul and Devin Booker were named in the top 20 of Sports Illustrated’s Top 100 NBA players of 2021-22.

Positions 30-11 were revealed Wednesday with Paul coming in at No. 18 and Booker jumping to No. 16, joining Phoenix Suns teammates Deandre Ayton (No. 37), Mikal Bridges (No. 53) and Jae Crowder (No. 90) on the list.

Chris Paul fell four spots from 2021’s rankings despite finishing fifth in MVP voting a season ago.

SI’s Jeremy Woo took notice of the point guard’s spectacular numbers despite growing in age.

Chris Paul didn’t just revive the Suns and quarterback a Finals run at age 36: he also put together one of the most efficient seasons of his career, posting his best field goal percentage (49.9%) since 2009, shooting nearly 40% from three and a league-best 93% from the line. He’s staved off any serious physical decline thus with irrepressible acuity and competitive fire. He certainly doesn’t look ready to enter a late-career role player phase anytime soon. While younger stars, including running mate Devin Booker, have started to surpass him on our list, Paul’s all-around impact can still be every bit as massive on a given night. He is, after all, one of the best point guards ever.

The point guard averaged 16.4 points per game, 4.5 rebounds and 8.9 assists in 70 regular season games.

Paul sits just ahead of Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving and one spot behind Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young.

Devin Booker jumped eight spots in the rankings to No. 16, one spot ahead of Young and slotted in order behind Bradley Beal, Jimmy Butler and Jayson Tatum.

SI’s Rohan Nadkarni recognizes Booker as one of the premier bucket-getters in the NBA but also gives a nod to the improved defense as a unit during the playoffs.

Booker’s supernova scoring talent finally coincided with winning in 2021, as he helped lead the Suns to the NBA Finals. Booker is a three-level scorer who makes up for his slightly less deadly three-point game with a killer bucket-getting prowess inside the arc. He’s adept at using his body to create space in the lane before burying you with off-balance shots. And when his pull-up is working, he can easily go for 40, as he did back-to-back times in the Finals. Individual defense will always be a slight question mark for Booker, though he did prove during Phoenix’s run to the championship round he can absolutely contribute to a great team defensive effort. Book definitely received a healthy bump on this list because of the team success he finally experienced for really the first time in his career. His next challenge will be to prove the Suns can sustain that level moving forward.

Booker averaged 25.6 points per game, 4.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists during the 2021 campaign.

Damian Lillard and Paul George rounded out the top 11 players with 1-10 coming at a later date.

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Phoenix Suns

Kevin Zimmerman

Jerry Colangelo: Wait on contract part of Suns C Deandre Ayton’s growth

Jerry Colangelo understands how the business world works. He is optimistic about the Suns' lack of a contract extension with Deandre Ayton.
14 hours ago
Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns laughs with Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the...
Wills Rice

Steve Nash, Chris Paul among Phoenix Suns players on NBA 75 team

The NBA released a list of the top players of all time for its 75th anniversary of the league, one that included current and former Suns players.
2 days ago
Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., center, is pressured by Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns have uncharacteristic defensive performance vs. Nuggets

The Phoenix Suns made defensive mistakes in bunches against the Denver Nuggets in the loss for the season opener.
14 hours ago
Houston Rockets guard Daishen Nix (15) and Toronto Raptors forward Ishmail Wainright (12) grapple f...
Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns sign forward Ishmail Wainright to 2-way contract

The Phoenix Suns have signed forward Ishmail Wainright to a two-way contract, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
2 days ago
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) battles Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) for the ball...
Jake Anderson

Suns’ Deandre Ayton ‘disappointed’ on contract but focused on Finals run

The dispute between the Suns and Deandre Ayton's contract extension comes down to the year amount, with the center wanting a five-year deal.
3 days ago
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) looks to pass as Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon, right, de...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns begin season looking out of sorts in loss to Nuggets

The Phoenix Suns did not start the 2021-22 season with a win, and they didn't look like themselves all that much against the Denver Nuggets.
3 days ago
Suns’ Chris Paul, Devin Booker crack Sports Illustrated’s top 20 players of 2021-22