Devin Booker Fantasy Outlook & Value 2019-2020

Devin Booker’s situation may be one of the more unique in the NBA. Despite putting up some gaudy numbers he’s never experienced a winning season in the league. Unfortunately, his team, the Phoenix Suns, are likely expected to once again be one of the worst teams in the league. Time will tell whether the Suns will eventually turn this ship around, but it’s unlikely to happen soon. On such a talent starved team, Booker is often asked to handle the majority of the scoring load. While this has led to some truly phenomenal scoring explosions from him, like his 70-point game in 2017, it’s probably something Booker would prefer to not have to constantly do. Booker has to deal with one of the most strenuous workloads in the league, and the fact that it hasn’t led to any meaningful wins must be frustrating for him. In fact, last season, he was the league leader in double teams coming from picks, higher than superstars like James Harden or Damian Lillard.

 

 

 


41722The Suns have been a symbol of dysfunctionality for the last half decade, with poor management decisions and even worse ownership causing them to post 4 straight sub 30 win seasons. Booker may have been the only draft pick they’ve hit on, as guys like Josh Jackson, Dragan Bender, and Marquise Chriss are all gone from the team. Last year’s first round pick DeAndre Ayton has potential and was pretty solid down the stretch last year, but is still just a second year player nonetheless. Booker is locked up long term, but if the Suns actually want to generate excitement for the future, they’ve got to actually show signs of improvement. And as currently constructed, the Suns will go only as far as Booker is capable of taking them.

Devin Booker Fantasy Stats

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6435.026.64.16.846.786.632.60.90.24.140.8

Upside

Devin Booker is already one of the best scorers in the league despite being just 22 years of age. It also helps that he started to show some major strides as a distributor last year. This Suns team has virtually no chance of making the playoffs, but it does have more upside than in years past. Booker will probably be just as lethal as a scorer entering the season, but if he can take another step as a playmaker, he could end up resembling James Harden. Harden is one of the most terrifying scorers in the league while simultaneously being one of the better distributors in the game. Although Harden has actually led his team to success and Booker hasn’t, in fantasy, individual production is all that matters. If Booker can stay just as good a scorer and if he can improve as a playmaker, we could see a career year from him. That would result in a season where he averages 27 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, and 1 steal a game.

Floor

Booker is a player that has had to endure a lot of frustrating moments in his short career. Although he’s produced plenty it unfortunately hasn’t led to a winning record. It’s possible that that agitation starts to wear on him, and he ends up becoming disgruntled and disillusioned with the franchise. It wouldn’t be the most shocking thing to see him demand a trade and threaten to sit out games. If that happens, an Anthony Davis situation can happen, where Booker and the team decide to play him as little as possible. It’s also important to consider Booker’s health. Although he isn’t known as an injury prone guy, he has missed 44 games combined the last 2 seasons. If an injury occurs or Booker ends up wanting out of Phoenix, two realistic possibilities, he could end up having a disappointing season. That would likely be one where he averages 23 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists a game.

What to Expect

phoenix sunsDevin Booker is currently ranked as the 4th best shooting guard in fantasy and the 20th best player overall. He’s expected to be drafted in the second round and has an auction value of $31. This is a pretty average value for Booker, not too high or too low. There’s been some debate around the league over whether Booker’s stats are empty, but that’s irrelevant to fantasy basketball. When it comes down to it, Booker is a great scorer that is progressing as a distributor and has a very fantasy friendly style of play. Conversely, Booker is likely to miss an extended stretch of games due to injury, and is in a fairly frustrating situation. He isn’t a bad second option, but just know there are more proven and consistent players like Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving available for similar prices.

In a strong western conference, the Suns likely stand out as the one of only teams that no one is expecting to contend for the playoffs. Although a lot of other teams can build reasonable cases, the Suns seem like one that can be counted out already. They didn’t really pick up any scoring help in the offseason, so unless Deandre Ayton takes a big leap as a shot creator, Booker will likely be called on once more. It remains to be seen whether his body can actually handle that burden over a full season, as he’s missed an extended stretch of the season the past two years. Regardless, when healthy, expect Booker to get a staggeringly large number of touches, and put up accordingly productive numbers. I expect him to have a 26 point per game, 4 rebound per game, 6 assist per game, and 1 steal a game season that ultimately is for naught for his team.

  
Despite being born in Orange County growing up as a die hard Lakers fan, his fandom is pretty diverse and extends as far as Syracuse University. Aside from sports journalism and analytics, he’s passionate about video games and critiquing movies. Eventual goals include ownership of the entire NBA and NFL.

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