When the NBA announced that 22-teams would be entering the bubble, it made zero sense for the Phoenix Suns to be invited. Yes, they were with 5 games of the 8th seed but if Coronavirus didn’t pause the season then there was a zero percent chance that the Phoenix Suns were going to catch the Memphis Grizzlies.
If we were so concerned about COVID-19 then there should have been fewer teams invited to compete. What made even less sense was that the 8 game restart before the playoffs didn’t improve the chances of the lower seeded teams because the schedule doesn’t even have the Suns playing against the teams directly above them in the standings. It’s borderline impossible to move up from 5 games behind without actually playing the team you’re 5 games behind.
Yet somehow, Phoenix is on a 3-game winning streak and the Grizzlies have lost 4 in a row.
All questioning of whether or not the Suns belong in the bubble were answered Tuesday afternoon when Devin Booker dotted Paul George’s eye with a game-winning fadeaway right in Playoff P’s mouth.
DEVIN BOOKER GAME-WINNER 🚨 pic.twitter.com/4QAeIRNiA6
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 4, 2020
Eat that shit. Phoenix is the worst team in the bubble and they just beat the Los Angeles Clippers. And you can say that Devin Booker’s shot was luck but the fact that Phoenix hung in that game to the final seconds is a massive accomplishment.
For years Devin Booker was putting up historic scoring numbers and winning only .293 of his games in Phoenix. No one cared. Tree falling in a woods type seasons. In 2017, Booker scored 70 points against the Boston Celtics. The Celtics won. We never talked about it again. 70 POINTS. We shrugged.
Devin Booker is averaging 26.3 points this season. But this belief that he’s some selfish scorer that can’t win is a bit unfair. He’s also averaging 6.5 assists a game which is more than Eric Bledsoe, Kemba Walker and Rajon Rondo. The Suns score-first shooting guard has more assists than your starting point guards.
But congrats to Phoenix for finally starting to put some good players around for Booker to even pass to. It’s wild to expect a kid in his early 20’s to lead bums to the playoffs in the Western Conference. We are witnessing the beginning of a Big 3 forming. With Booker, Ricky Rubio and DeAndre Ayton on the floor together, the team is +7.6 points per 100 possessions.
For the first time in Booker’s career, he has a legit ball-handling point guard and a defensive anchor in the paint. The Suns attempted to make Booker the main ballhandler and playmaker but Booker is at his best when he’s on the floor who can distribute the ball and run the offense which takes so much pressure off of him.
Yes, we all know that Phoenix should’ve drafted Luka Doncic instead of DeAndre Ayton. This article would be about the Suns holding onto the 1 seed if that were the case.
But Ayton has stepped up in his second season and most importantly, in the bubble. Against the Wizards, Ayton scored 24 points on 11-for-14 shooting with 12 rebounds, 2 blocks and a couple made 3’s. In that dramatic Clippers win, Ayton scored 19 on 50% shooting with 7 boards and 4 assists.
The Phoenix Suns have a real-life grown up adult NBA roster with real-life NBA players like Kelly Oubre and Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson.
But can Devin Booker lead the Suns to the playoffs?
I suppose the point of this article was to point out that he doesn’t have to.
Devin Booker has an actual team around him that all want to be there and weren’t trapped there because of a trade or because the Suns were the only team with cap space that would sign them. They haven’t wasted draft picks and they’ve acquired complementary pieces. Ya know, that thing that playoff teams do.
With Jaren Jackson tearing his knee, you can cross Memphis off the list. I don’t think Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks are good enough to hold onto to the 8th seed. Phoenix has five more games left. Indiana, Miami, OKC, Philadelphia and Dallas. That schedule is hell. But if they’re out here beating the Clipper then I have no reason to believe they can’t steal some of these upcoming matchups.
But to answer my own question, lolololol no Phoenix isn’t making the playoffs. Damian Lillard would Tanya Harding Booker’s kneecap if it meant Portland got the 8th seed. Nah, get Phoenix the fuuuuuck out of here.