All-NBA Suns shooting guard Devin Booker spoke to Sam Amick of The Athletic for a wide-ranging interview that was published the day he would help extend Phoenix’s win streak to six games on the strength of a 51-point performance, while shooting a terrific 20-of-25 from the field through just three quarters.
Booker has emerged as a possible frontrunner for league MVP honors. He has been the best and most consistent player on the top team by record (15-6) in the Western Conference to start this season. Amick notes that Booker finished fourth in MVP voting last year, as the best player on a 64-18 Suns team.
Through 21 games this season, Booker is averaging 29.0 PPG on .489/.378/.878 shooting splits. He is also contributing 5.8 APG, 5.3 RPG, and 1.1 SPG.
The 6’5″ three-time All-Star’s conversation with Amick is worth reading in full, but here are some highlights:
On being a potential early favorite for the 2023 MVP award:
“I’m not even in that race. I just let these people say what they want. Like bro, I focus on hoops only… And historically speaking, if you look at last year, like somebody (else) might have got MVP (in his situation) if it wasn’t me. Best team in the league with whatever (production). But the criteria changes, the media changes. I think it’s good for the NBA, (but) there’s just certain people that they want to push more than others. And that’s just the nature of life.”
On his feelings towards minutes management:
“I’m not a part of that, man (laughs). I’m 26 years old, man. I train hard. I spend a lot of time in the summer making sure my body’s right to be able to take that load on, so I want to be out there, and I want to win basketball games and do what I have to do to help the team. That’s just how I’ve always been… Every day I wake up grateful for the opportunity to play, and I’ve never lost sight of that, back from being the little kid who wanted to be in the NBA. And I haven’t lost sight of those kids that are up in the stands that might be seeing me for the first time.”
On the team’s ability to ignore the chaos surrounding embattled owner Robert Sarver:
“I don’t think it’s fair to think that that would come in between what we have going on in this locker room. There’s too many level-headed guys. We have too many conversations that we keep in house between the team. Like, we have a lot of educated people on this team. We’re pretty close, and we talk about everything. Our group chat is going. And we keep everything in (house) and talk about it here. And, you know, a decision was made (regarding Sarver), so there’s really nothing else we can do or say about it. Media day was tough, and that was it.”
On Suns center Deandre Ayton dealing with tension ahead of his eventual maximum contract:
“I think he grew up a lot. He’ll be the first one to tell you that it was just realizing what the NBA is about. You grow up and you’re like, ‘I want to play in the NBA,’ but you don’t realize it’s a business. There’s things that go on. There’s conversations that had to be had. And being a young top pick and coming in at 18 (years old), and him being all over in his childhood from the Bahamas to San Diego, I don’t think he realized that it’s actually business. And that was good for him. I mean, he got his money. He’s in a great situation now. He’s playing free. He’s happy.”