Phoenix Suns: Here's why Devin Booker should be an All-Star this year

Duane Rankin
Arizona Republic

Devin Booker didn’t stand a chance of being voted an All-Star starter for the first time.

He finished 10th in the fan voting for Western Conference guards which makes up 50% of the votes.

10th. Really?

The media (25% of the vote) voted the three-time All-Star fifth while the players (25% of the vote) voted him seventh.

So, it’s on the NBA head coaches to vote Booker in as a reserve. TNT will announce the reserves on Feb. 2.

The odds appear against that happening, too. Booker’s only played 29 games, but Suns coach Monty Williams looks at the All-Star starters and sees some who have been sidelined due to injuries, too.

Zion Williamson. Stephen Curry. Kevin Durant.

Then people tend to forget how a player was performing before he got hurt.

Not only is Booker averaging a career-high 27.1 points this season, he earned Western Conference player of October/November honors. He led the Suns to the top record in the conference at one point and dropped 58 on New Orleans in a comeback win before missing 20 of Phoenix’s next 21 games.

Booker is scheduled for a re-evaluation of his strained left groin Wednesday and could play as early as that same day against Atlanta at Footprint Center.

Then there’s the obvious Williams hopes his NBA head coaches consider when voting for the reserves.

“We know and the league knows and players know,” Williams said. “He's the best two-guard in the game and one of the best players in the game. Why would he not be in the All-Star game?"

The coaches vote for two guards, three frontcourt players and two wild cards who can be any position.

They know Booker is one of the game’s best players.

He’s atop their scouting report when facing the Suns.

Do they think he’s worthy of being an All-Star this year, though?

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Here’s how the voting could shake out in Booker’s favor, but first things first.

Here are the West All-Star starters.

Guards: Curry (Warriors) and Luka Doncic (Mavs).

Frontcourt: LeBron James (Lakers), Nikola Jokic (Nuggets) and Zion Williamson (Pelicans).

A strong case can be made for all five.

Williamson is the only one you could question because he’s only played 29 games due to injuries, but the only player who could start ahead of him, Lakers big Anthony Davis, has played fewer games.

NBA on TNT crew of Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal with Adam Lefkoe hosting all agreed Kings big Domantas Sabonis, Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen, Grizzlies guard Ja Morant and Blazers guard Damian Lillard should make it as reserves.

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Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) reacts during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Correlating those selections to the voting format for the coaches, Morant and Lillard would be the two mandatory guard selections while Sabonis and Markkanen make up two of the three mandatory frontcourt picks.

They disagreed on the next three as Smith said he meant to choose Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Fair, but let’s stick with what the TNT graphics department displayed.

O’Neal: Gilgeous-Alexander, Kings guard De’Aaron Fox and Clippers forward Paul George.

Lefkoe: Gilgeous-Alexander, Davis and Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon.

Barkley: Gilgeous-Alexander, Fox and Pelicans guard C.J. McCollum.

Smith: Fox, George and Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards.

Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon, right, flies over Phoenix Suns guard Landry Shamet to dunk the ball for a basket in overtime of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Gordon has been a sleeper pick. The team with the best record in the conference usually has two players make it.

Last year, Chris Paul and Booker were chosen as the Suns stood atop the West.

This year, Denver has that distinction. Jokic is in there.

Gordon could be the other.

Now, it’s time to clear my head and reveal my reserve selections.

Two guards: Morant and Gilgeous-Alexander.

Morant is one of the best players in the league leading the second-best team in the West while Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging a career-high 30.9 points.

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Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) looks to get around Atlanta's Aaron Holiday (3) in the second half during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Atlanta Hawks at the Paycom Center  in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan.25, 2023.

Oklahoma City isn’t sniffing the play-in without him.

Three frontcourt: Sabonis, George and Davis. Tough to go with Davis over Gordon because it’s insane for the sub-.500 Lakers to have two All-Stars and West-leading Nuggets to have only one.

Call me crazy, then.

Gordon will likely get the nod, but Davis was putting up historic numbers before getting hurt.

Two wild cards: Markkanen and Booker.

Not only is Markkanen having an All-Star season, you’ve got to have a hometown guy in the game.

As for Booker, if Williamson made it as a starter and Davis stands a good chance of doing so as a reserve, then Booker should be given the same consideration. He's played more games than Davis and the same amount as Williamson.

December 17, 2022; Phoenix, Ariz; USA; Suns guard Devin Booker (1) pumps up the crowd agaisnt the Pelicans during the second half at the Footprint Center.

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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