Sir Isaac Newton once stated, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” That was certainly true in the National Basketball Association on Tuesday with the naming of this year’s All-Star reserves.
Shortly after the news broke as to which players made the final cut for the East and the West, the outrage soon began among players who felt they were snubbed. Many took to Twitter to express their discontent, including LA Clippers guard Lou Williams, who is averaging 23.3 points a game this season:
Devin Booker may just be the most powerful 21-year-old in the world.
Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough told the media on Thursday that the third-year guard will have input in the team’s decisions going forward.
“With his emergence and importance to not only what we’re doing in the short term but hopefully in the next decade-plus, I think it’s important to make him a partner in the process,” said McDonough, per Scott Bordow of AZCentral.
“Kind of show him the blueprint and vision we have not only for the rest of this season, but for the summers of 2018, 2019, 2020, etc.,” McDonough added. “In terms of what he thinks are important characteristics for a head coach to have, what’s important to us as an organization and how we build over a number of years.”
Booker, who is averaging a team-high 24.6 points per game this season, looks like Phoenix’s undisputed franchise cornerstone, and it is no surprise that they are treating him as such, even at such a young age. He has already noted one major move that he would like for the team to make, and it sounds like he will factor heavily into their decision-making process from here on out.
Jay Triano is getting the endorsement that matters — the one from his team’s franchise player.
Before the Phoenix Suns played the Dallas Mavericks on Monday, Suns guard Devin Booker said that he would like for Triano to remain as head coach.
“Me and Triano have that relationship. He’s somebody I’m comfortable with and somebody I’ve been around for a long time,” said Booker, according to The Arizona Republic. “I love Triano. I don’t make those calls but he’s been doing a wonderful job since he’s been here and I would vouch for him. He’s been really good.”
Triano, who previously served as head coach of the Toronto Raptors for three seasons, has been coaching the team on an interim basis since Earl Watson was fired in October just three games into the 2017-18 season. The Suns have gone 11-18 (.379) since Triano took over.
The mother of all NBA seasons is almost here. So as you finalize your League Pass subscriptions, complete your fantasy drafts, and prepare the guacamole for your watch parties, take some time to ponder the true meaning of the season — specifically, the benevolent stars who make such a joyous holiday possible with their prodigious athletic talents.
Here I present, each NBA team’s most important player heading into 2017-18:
Atlanta Hawks — Dennis Schroder, PG
“All my friends are dead,” said Schroder in his best Lil Uzi Vert voice as he gazed upon his roster following the respective exits of his last remaining All-Star teammates in Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard this summer. Yes, the Hawks are now as thin as a toothpick, and the incentive for them to “Do Badly for Bagley” or “Make The Fans Puka for Luka” will be enormous. But someone has to lead this JV squad, and their resident German is as good of an option as any. Perhaps we will see Dennis the Menace gun for 20 and 10. Maybe he develops some nice pick-and-roll chemistry with new additions Dewayne Dedmon and rookie John Collins. Perhaps he finally bleaches his entire head blonde. Anything to give this team a modicum of watchability this season.
Boston Celtics — Kyrie Irving
After selling an arm, a leg, and a hip for him this summer, the Celtics will hope that Irving’s performance in his first season with them does not fall flat. The outside noise in Uncle Drew’s ear will be deafening — mockery of his decision to ditch LeBron James and go off in search of his own empire, jeers at the perceived stagnation of his playmaking skills, pervasive meme treatments of his unorthodox views on astronomy. But Irving is here for one reason and one reason only: to ball out. And that’s what he’s gonna do. Just remember kids, there’s no such thing as distractions when you’re very much woke. [mic drop]
The 20-year-old’s eruption on March 24 was the second-highest single-game scoring total in the 21st century and tied for tenth-highest in NBA history. While there was some controversy over the way Booker did it, it was a historic display in every sense of the word and will now be immortalized as such. Not bad for a kid who’s still the age of most college sophomores.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker has been on fire since the team shut Eric Bledsoe down for the year. Listed as a shooting guard, Booker has been lighting up the scoreboard and dropped 70 points in a game last week against the Boston Celtics. But he has also shown an ability to set his teammates up.
While the Suns have lost 12 straight, Booker’s individual performance has been enough to inspire his coach to compare him to one of the best players in the NBA.
“I don’t know if I’ve said this publicly before, but he reminds me a lot of James Harden,” Suns coach Earl Watson said Sunday, via Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic. “When Devin Booker took off at the end of last season, he was at the point. He had a lot of 30-point games. This year he’s had a 70-point game. It’s not a coincidence.”
Booker has essentially been Phoenix’s backup point guard behind Tyler Ulis since Bledsoe went down, and the former 13th overall pick has averaged 6.8 assists over the past four games. The 39.3 points per game he is averaging is the number that sticks out more, but the increase in assists is what reminds Watson of Harden.
Harden, a shooting guard for most of his career, was given the keys to the offense by Mike D’Antoni this season. He’s averaging 11.2 assists — the highest total of his career by far — to go along with 29.2 points per game.
“I think if that’s possible, James will open up the door for (Booker to be a point guard),” Watson said. “You definitely see him with the ball in his hands down the stretch. It depends on the roster and creativity and vision of the program.
“He plays at his own speed. He plays not fast, but it’s quick. Not blazing, but somehow he dunks on you. He can shoot, he can handle, he can pass and he can post up. He’s very versatile.”
The Suns have the second-worst record in the NBA, meaning they are likely to get a high pick in a draft that is loaded with talented guards. If they end up drafting Lonzo Ball or Markelle Fultz, it will be interesting to see who plays the point. Based on the way Watson defended Booker against criticism over Booker’s 70-point game, you might conclude the former Kentucky star has the early upper hand.