The Phoenix Suns are running away with the best record in the NBA. With a record of 58-14 entering the final 10 games of the regular season, they have been lightyears ahead of everyone else. But that hasn’t exactly translated into as much love for Devin Booker as Suns fans would hope.
The Suns All-Star was recently propped up by Hall of Fame Detroit Pistons point guard Isiah Thomas as a name that should squarely be involved in the conversation for this season’s Most Valuable Player award. As the leading scorer on a Suns team that owns the best record of the regular season by far, he must at least be in the discussion.
Let it be known @DevinBook @Suns @nba league #MVP conversation best record leading scorer has always been part of the #criteria
— Isiah Thomas (@IsiahThomas) March 22, 2022
Devin Booker, however, responded by claiming that there may be a double-standard of sorts when it comes to who gets to be in the MVP conversation and who doesn’t. The Suns shooting guard bared as such to Isiah Thomas on Twitter.
“Appreciate that IT but the “#criteria” changes depending on players name,” said the Suns star.
Appreicate that IT but the “#criteria” changes depending on players name https://t.co/Zug1Plc8sq
— Book (@DevinBook) March 22, 2022
When a team is as dominant as the Suns have been this season, you would expect there to be an MVP candidate on the roster. There was some light buzz on Chris Paul last season as a dark horse possibility, but there was never really an serious clamor for the Suns point guard to win the award. He finished with just two first-place votes and ranked 5th in overall voting for the award, which eventually went to Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.
But this season, the Suns have managed to thrive even with the extended absence of Chris Paul. In the 14 games that CP3 has missed, Phoenix has gone 10-4 in that span and are currently on a five-game winning streak. They’ve outscored opponents by 18.4 points in those last five contests and have a +9.5 net rating in total games without Chris Paul.
A lot of that has to do with Devin Booker. The Kentucky alum has been the center of the Suns’ universe this season, averaging 25.9 points, 5.1 rebounds. 4.9 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.4 blocks, each stat a tick better than he did last season. He’s also bumped up his three-point shooting percentage significantly while lowering his turnovers per game from 3.1 to 2.5.
Devin Booker doesn’t have the earth-shattering impact that guys like Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, or Giannis Antetokounmpo have for their teams virtually every other game. But the Suns All-Star has been the consistent force behind the most successful team in the league.
The MVP award has often been about the player making the most noise throughout the season. That’s held true for guys like Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant and Chicago Bulls swingman DeMar DeRozan, who have both taken the mic to announce their dominance at different points in the season.
Devin Booker has been a much more monotonous contributor for the Suns. He shows up every single night, often threatening the 30-point mark while making big shots to key another victory for Phoenix. He likely won’t get the consideration he deserves, but Devin Booker has been the MVP for the Suns this season.