Booker’s back, Phoenix Suns also look forward to fans


Tim Slone

Devin Booker at a pre-pandemic press conference

Daniel Moreno, Reporter

Chris Paul was able to keep the Phoenix Suns offense afloat while all-star Devin Booker was out with a hamstring injury.  However, Booker has been back in the lineup for the last two games and the Sun’s young core must now dedicate themselves to a new game plan.

The Suns beat the Mavericks on Feb. 1 with a last-second dagger from Booker, literally putting the Suns up with one second left in the fourth quarter.

However, their game against the Pelicans two days later highlighted Head Coach Monty Williams recent concerns.  The team just can’t seem to fully commit to execution when the game is on the line.

The Pelicans put on a scoring exhibition, with their league-worst defense stepping up when necessary, to not allow Booker or Paul to get in rhythm.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt this was our best game of the year,” said Pelicans Head Coach Stan Van Gundy.

Zion Williamson dominated the Suns defense in the post, exposing an inexperienced center group that is anchored by 22 year-old Deandre Ayton.

In-game experience is something that cannot be practiced or coached and it is beginning to show with poor shot selection and open plays often falling apart.

“You can have any game plan going into the game, but until you actually get out there and the game is moving at full speed, things happen differently” Booker said in the post-game press conference following the loss to the Pelicans.

Booker has been able to establish a leadership role with this fresh Suns team, but he and Paul, are still working out the best way to complement each other’s strengths and build on one another’s knowledge.

Beginning Monday against Cleveland, up to 1,500 fans will reportedly be allowed to attend Suns games.  It will be a completely different environment from the bubble, or so far this season.  With all the change, Booker will either need to step up and become the offensive anchor, leaning on Paul for veteran experience, or allow Paul to have complete control like he did when the Thunder reached the playoffs with ease last year.