For the Suns, Booker is putting up record offensive figures.
What thoughts come to mind when you hear a guy is averaging 26 points on 47.6% shooting? Isn’t it a fairly good average? Derrick Rose once won the MVP award despite averaging fewer points (25) and shooting at a worse percentage (44.5% from the field).
Getting there during the regular season is enough to earn an All-NBA selection. It’s even more miraculous to get there in the playoffs. “Incredible” appears to be an apt description of Devin Booker.
Devin Booker’s Playoff Resurgence: Overcoming Adversity and Defying Expectations
It’s probably insufficient. Devin Booker isn’t averaging 26 points and 47.6% shooting in the 2023 playoffs. These are his two worst individual games in the postseason. They didn’t even appear in the same game. Booker started the playoffs with 26 points against the Los Angeles Clippers, but he only hit 10 of 19 shots. Since then, he has only once dropped below 30 points. He scored precisely 30 points in Game 4 of the Clippers series, but he only hit 10 of his 21 attempts. Its only two games this playoffs where he missed more shots than he made.
For Booker, the playoffs have been that sort of postseason; he has now forced the Suns back into a series they might have easily eliminated. Booker scored 83 points in the last two games on just over 79% shooting to even the series after the Denver Nuggets were behind 2-0 in the second round.
Devin Booker has done this while playing against a defense that has actively disregarded his teammates to double-team him. Devin also made them pay for it by providing 12 assists in Sunday’s win in Game 4. He accomplished this feat by being the first NBA player to record at 35 points on at least 75% shooting in back-to-back postseason games.
Pursuit of Greatness: Booker’s Quest to Rewrite NBA Postseason History
As Booker’s blazing run continues, you’ll hear the words “NBA history” a lot. Even though it is only the second round, Booker makes history with every stride on the court. At this pace, he’ll have a legitimate claim to the title of “best offensive postseason in NBA history.” Here’s how he’s doing right now:
In the playoffs, Booker is averaging 36.8 points per game. He is 4th in NBA history in points per game among players who have played at least eight games in a single playoff (guaranteed at least two rounds of participation). Elgin (38.1 points per game), 1962 Elgin Baylor (38.2 points per game), and 1965 West (40.6 points per game) were the three players that came before him six decades ago. The two players that promptly followed him? Two seasons of Michael Jordan, who averaged 36.7 points per game, and 2009 LeBron James, who averaged 35.3 points per game.
Devin Booker’s Record-Breaking Field Goal Percentage in the Playoffs
This playoff, Booker is shooting 61.7% from the field. That would break Shaquille O’Neal’s 1998 postseason record of 61.2% for 30-point scorers. To find a player who shot better from the field in at least 8 playoff games, we must go back to Worthy in 1985, 62.2% from the field in the post season but averaged just 21.5 points per game.
And how will the Sun’s fare in the postseason? They will need him to continue doing so. Kevin Durant has done his fair part, and just as many statistics demonstrate their heroics as a tandem as there are for Booker’s solo exploits.
But what about after him? The Suns are paying Chris Paul more than $30 million to sit out due to an injury. Even at his best, he averaged career playoff lows in nearly every offensive statistic.
DeAndre Ayton scored 4 points in Game 3 before being replaced by Jock Landale. Landry Shamet hit four fourth-quarter three-pointers to help the Suns win Game 4. In Game 3, Phoenix’s third-leading scorer scored seven points.
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