Could Devin Booker be the best point guard in the NBA? | Devine Intervention

Yahoo Sports NBA reporter Dan Devine is joined by The Ringer’s Michael Pina to discuss the evolution of Devin Booker as a point guard for the Phoenix Suns this season. Hear the full conversation on “Devine Intervention” - part of the “Ball Don’t Lie” podcast - and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen

Video Transcript


MICHAEL PINA: I am brought a lot of joy by Devin Booker becoming the best point guard in the NBA.

DAN LEVINE: Let's just do it now because this is literally something I had on here for later. So let's do it. All right. What, in specific about that, brings you a great deal of joy?

MICHAEL PINA: He is obviously this guy who entered the league prodigious scorer. Dropped 70 in a game before his 21st birthday. A game I was at in Boston, actually, just I'll never forget that one. And has this reputation for just getting buckets, three levels, can shoot 3s, pull up mid-range, get to the free throw line, all that sort of stuff.

And for someone at age 27, obviously he could pass before the Chris Paul trade brought him to Phoenix. And kind of Chris Paul was running the show, obviously. Had the ball in his hands a ton. Devin Booker could pass always. And if you just watch him play, he's willing.

He is just reading the defense. He's just making-- he's getting off the ball a beat quicker than other guys who are averaging 30 or near 30 points per game would be willing to. And he's not playing with this selfishness. So I think just like at this stage in his career, the willingness to evolve, the willingness to assume more of a playmaker role while Bradley Beal obviously he hasn't played a minute or a second with Bradley Beal as his teammate.

Kevin Durant has been out of the lineup the last couple of games. And like they have just like the best offense in the league when he's on the court. And it's just all him. And it's just cool to see like that evolution at this stage in his career when at 27 he should be like, "I want to shoot every single time I touch the ball." And he's just like all about making the right play right now. And it's just it's awesome to see.

DAN LEVINE: And a great reminder that even players we've been watching for nearly a decade now are not finished products, right? I mean, he's obviously a special version of that, like an all-NBA, first team caliber player. An MVP candidate caliber player.

But these guys can add to their games. And they can do it at the highest levels. They can do it without taking other things off the table. The thing that blew my mind when I was looking at very similar things was that in addition to that gigantic leap in assist rate, I think it was like 27.3% last year up to like 47.7%, the turnover rate barely nudged.

Like he is-- I've unlocked this other part of my game, but I have not taken anything away in terms of my ball security, in terms of the way that like you can always feel good that we're going to get a good look, whether it was me taking it or now me creating it. And to be able to do that while still operating at an obscenely high level in terms of his scoring efficiency, the volume of shots that he's still taking and creating himself. To just all of a sudden be like, "Oh, by the way, I'm third in the league in assist points per game. And I create more 3's per 100 possessions than Tyrese Haliburton." Like that's absurd and I think a wonderful source of joy.