By the numbers: How Devin Booker has dominated the 2023 NBA playoffs
May 8, 2023, 8:00 PM | Updated: 10:39 pm
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
It seems that after every game of the Phoenix Suns’ series against the Denver Nuggets, there is another stat that has Devin Booker among the NBA’s best.
Whether that is the current-day players or some all-time royalty, Booker has had a jaw-dropping run through nine games so far.
Throughout the postseason it has been blazing offensive numbers and sneaky dominant stretches defensively, the shooting guard has done it all.
How good has Booker been, exactly? Let’s take a look at his historic postseason run, by the numbers:
Booker is averaging 36.8 points over nine games, good enough for 331 points, the most of any player this postseason.
After a 36-point performance against the Nuggets in Game 4, Booker became the first Sun in postseason history to record three-straight 35-plus point games. Amar’e Stoudemire and Kevin Johnson both had two game runs.
He is scoring at such an elite level this postseason, his career playoff point per game average reached 28.4, the sixth most in NBA history of players to play at least 40 games.
He only trails Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Kevin Durant, Jerry West and LeBron James, according to Arizona Sports‘ Kellan Olson.
Since the postseason expanded to four rounds for all teams in 1983-84, only Jordan (1989, 1990) and Bernard King (1984) have more 35-point games in the first two rounds in a postseason, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
Booker is not only putting the ball in the hoop at an incredible rate, but he is doing it at an unforeseen efficiency level.
His 36.8 PPG are coming at a 61.7 field goal percentage and 71.1 true shooting percentage this postseason.
This currently stands as the highest FG% and the highest TS% ever by a player averaging 30-plus points in a single postseason in NBA history. He is the first player to score 35-plus points on 70-plus percent true shooting in NBA history.
His Game 3 performance against the Nuggets (46 points on 20-of-25 shooting) notched his name next to Dirk Nowitzki’s as the only two players to score 45 points on 80% shooting in playoff history.
It is no surprise that Booker is one of the best scorers in the league.
One portion of his game is how incredible he has been defensively.
Among defenders that have seen 150-plus field goal attempts as the primary defender these playoffs, Booker and Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis have led the playoffs holding shooters to a 37.7 field goal percentage, according to Stat Muse.
Additionally, he leads the postseason with 18 steals over the nine games played. Three other players are at 15.
There have only been four games in NBA playoff history where two teammates have 35 points, six assists and six rebounds.
Durant and Booker are responsible for two of those games, both Game 3 and 4 from Footprint Center, according to Basketball Reference.
Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter did it in 1992 and Elgin Baylor and Jerry West did it in 1966.
Basketball Reference has its own rating system that scores each individual’s game starting in 1983-84.
Booker’s Game 3 performance was good enough for a 44.3 rating, the 21st highest rated single game performance in 40 years.
Additionally, his Game 5 closeout performance against the Los Angeles Clippers scored a 42.9, the 27th highest rated performance ever.
Booker is not only No. 1 on the court, but his 36.8 PPG, 7.4 assists, 61.7 FG% and 51 3pt% ranks him as the first player in NBA history to record those numbers over a nine-game stretch, regular or postseason, according to The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov.