Friday, May 27

Will the NBA coaches do the right thing, vote Devin Booker into the All-Star Game?


Devin Booker did not make it to this year’s NBA All-Star Game as a starter despite Phoenix having the best record in the league.

He also hasn’t made it as a reserve, as the league’s head coaches pick those players.

Both of Booker’s All-Star nominations (2020, 2021) have come as a replacement from injury. NBA commissioner Adam Silver picks injured replacements.

Will you do it as a backup this time?

It seems like a no-brainer.

After all, he’s the leading scorer on the best team in the NBA, won the Western Conference Player of the Week award twice this season and is averaging 30.5 points in Phoenix’s current eight-game winning streak.

However, that wasn’t enough to get him to the All-Star Game on February 20 as a starter.

Booker finished third in player voting for the Western Conference perimeter, fourth in media voting and fifth in fan voting to finish tied for third overall with Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic, who also he is a two-time All-Star.

Doncic and Booker had a weighted score of 4.25 behind Warriors guard Stephen Curry (1) and Ja Morant (2).

Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby (3) and Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker (1) battle for the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Toronto on Tuesday, Aug. January 2022.

Fans account for 50% of the vote, current players 25%, and a media panel the remaining 25%.

Curry is now an eight-time All-Star, while Morant will make his All-Star debut just three years after being the second overall pick in the 2019 draft.

So Booker will now have to wait to see how the coaches vote for the reserves. The NBA will announce those selections when coaches vote for two backcourt players, three frontcourt players and two wild cards who can be either frontcourt or backcourt players.

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Again, it seems like a no-brainer, but Booker has never made it as a backup and that includes last season when Phoenix had the second-best record in the Western Conference at 24-11 in the All-Star break.

How could the coaches vote?

January 20, 2022;  Dallas, Texas, United States;  Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) hugs Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) after the game at the American Airlines Center.  Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Back area (2) Chris Paul and Devin Booker, or Luka Doncic?

Paul is a lock on getting one of these backyard spaces.

He is considered one of the five candidates for the MVP for the second year in a row.

Coaches see him as the main difference-maker for the Suns to become championship contenders after a decades-long playoff drought.

So Paul is there.

Booker could easily get second in the backcourt, but so could Doncic.

January 20, 2022;  Dallas, Texas, United States;  Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) looks to score as Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) defends during the first half at the American Airlines Center.  Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Like Booker, Doncic is a two-time All-Star, but is a two-time All-NBA first-team selection.

They’re averaging the same number of points, but Doncic is averaging more assists and rebounds.

Yes, Phoenix has a better record — they went 3-0 against the Mavs this season — but Dallas is seen as an improved team from a year ago.

Defense has been the difference in Dallas, but Doncic is averaging close to a triple-double. I can’t ignore that.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green celebrates during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets in San Francisco, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Front Court (3) Draymond, Rudy and KAT

Like Paul, Draymond Green is a blocking pick.

He hasn’t played since Jan. 5, but Green is the top candidate for defensive player of the year and the Warriors haven’t been the same since he got hurt.

Coaches see the number of ways he contributes to winning. Whether it’s defending, making plays, rebounding and leading, Green makes a difference.

Utah Jazz guard Joe Ingles, left, and center Rudy Gobert (27) talk during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in Chicago. .  (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

Rudy Gobert is the best defensive center in the league. He has been perhaps the Jazz’s most consistent player.

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If you have a team in the top four in a conference, you’ll probably have an All-Star. Gobert has done it twice.

Score another All-Star nod for Gobert.

Then there is Karl-Anthony Towns.

November 15, 2021;  Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States;  Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) drives to the basket while Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) defends in the first half at Target Center.

The Timberwolves are relevant again thanks in large part to him.

He has always been one of the most talented bigs in the league, but Minnesota has already won more games this season (24) than last season (23) and the year before (19).

They are in the hunt for the playoffs. They clearly get better. Towns is a big part of that improvement. Coaches notice.

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) gives an autograph to a fan as he walks off the court after warming up before an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis on Saturday, January 8. 2022. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

Wild cards (2) Donovan Mitchell, Booker, or Anthony Edwards?

This is where it gets tricky.

Let’s say Paul and Doncic get both spots in the back.

That still leaves Booker in the talent pool along with Donovan Mitchell and Anthony Edward.

Again, it shouldn’t come down to this for Booker, but Mitchell is also a two-time All-Star.

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Edwards smiles after scoring against the Portland Trail Blazers during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer )

So he might as well get one of the wild cards and Booker the other, but Anthony Edwards is in the conversation.

His numbers are a bit higher, but again, he’s part of the T-Wolves’ upgrade.

Now, truth be told, Edwards shouldn’t make it to the All-Star Game.

He needs to dominate the Rising Stars Challenge and have people say after that, he’ll be an All-Star next year.

Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis, center, dunks the ball as Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, center left, watches during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday January 27, 2022, in Philadelphia.  (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Another literal wild card: Anthony Davis

When he’s healthy, he’s one of the best players in the league.

Top 10. At its best? top 5

Davis missed 17 games with a knee injury, but recently showed how good he is in Philadelphia with 31 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks in 34 minutes.

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Davis has only played 30 games this season, but that’s more than half of the Lakers’ games this season.

Again, Booker should make it as a first-time backup pick.

Coaches value winning.

The Suns have done better than anyone this season and Booker is a big reason why.

January 22, 2022;  Phoenix, Arizona, United States;  The Suns' Devin Booker walks onto the court before a game against the Pacers at the Footprint Center.

No again?

So he should be an All-Star lock, but if the coaches don’t push him across that threshold for next month’s game in Cleveland, should he accept a third straight injury replacement request from Silver?

First time honored.

The second time, great, but opted out due to injury to improve the team.

Third time? Maybe just because Williams will be there as head coach.

Booker knows he is one of the best players in the league. You don’t need an All-Star wink to validate that.

He wants a championship more than anything, but respect also matters.

So to ask Booker, who stayed in Phoenix through the bad years, teamed up with Paul to get Phoenix to the finals, won Olympic gold in Tokyo, and is that guy on the best team in the NBA, to play a again in the All-Star. play as a replacement for an injury?

Really?

Do you have an opinion on the current state of the Suns? Please contact Suns pundit Duane Rankin at [email protected] or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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