Devin Booker, the Phoenix Suns guard who has long been underrated for his on-court performances, is replacing Damian Lillard in the All-Star Game and three-point contest.
This season, Booker is averaging 26.4 points and 6.3 assists per game, while shooting 50% from the field, 36% from three and 92% from the free throw line. His rookie season, he averaged 13.8 points per game, and since then, he’s averaged at least 22 points per game every season.
Over the last two seasons, Booker is one of 10 players to score at least 26 points per game and shoot at least 46% from the field, something he’s done twice now. Since the 2016-2017 season, Booker is one of nine players to score at least 22 points per game over that span.
All of those stats, and Booker hasn’t been selected into an All-Star Game yet. Even though he’s appearing in this year’s All-Star Game, it’s because Lillard was injured and Booker was the next in line. The lack of attention to Booker might be because of the lack of winning, as evident by him never winning more than 24 games in a season. The Suns only won 40 games twice the entirety of last decade.
What people seem to forget, is if you say Booker is snubbed, then what player are you taking out of it? Because this season, both Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, who are perennial All-Star’s, both missed this season due to injuries. So that opens the door for Booker. In the 2018 season, the only person that could be argued to not be there was Jimmy Butler, who was having a great year for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Last season, the guards in the Western Conference were Curry, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Lillard and Thompson. And yes, they all deserve to be there over Booker.
That’s what makes sports so frustrating at times. Like life itself, everything is circumstantial. Booker is an All-Star caliber talent, but the NBA is so deep with talent that players who average 26 points per game aren’t good enough to be considered a top 8 guard in the league. Sometimes, it takes luck to achieve these accolades.