Chris Paul # 3 of the Phoenix Suns talks to Devin Booker # 1 during the second half of the NBA game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Phoenix Suns Arena on December 29, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen / Getty Images)
The Phoenix Suns will have one All-Star this season, but there’s a good case that they should have had two. While point guard Chris Paul was included in the reserves for the Western Conference All-Star Game on Tuesday, point guard Devin Booker was not.
For the second year in a row, Booker was not included on the original list of All-Star reserves. He was an injury replacement for Portland’s Damian Lillard last year and could be in line for that spot again with Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis among the reserves.
His numbers per game this season are low, but his efficiency has increased. Booker is averaging 24.7 points, 4.3 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game while shooting 50% from the field, the highest of his career. He’s also hitting 38% from 3-point range.
Booker is getting strong lately for the Suns 20-10, who have won 12 of their last 14 heading into Tuesday. Its monthly averages reflect its constant tuning throughout the year, since it averaged 20.2 points in December, 24.3 in January and 26.8 points so far in February.
While the coaches’ votes for the All-Star Game reserves were due before Phoenix defeated the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night, Booker’s 34-point outburst in 29 minutes exemplified his impact on the team as he was advancing to a second consecutive record of over 30. victory point.
“There’s no question about it,” head coach Monty Williams said after the 132-100 win. “No one can argue that Book is not an All-Star. End of story.”
Paul, in his 16th NBA season, secured his spot on the exhibition list by ranking sixth in the league in assists per game (8.5), including a 19-assist performance against the Pelicans on Friday night.
Paul, who was acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder through a trade this offseason, is averaging 16.6 points, 8.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game while shooting 49% from the field and 40% from deep.
Paul has made 10 trips to the All-Star Game heading into this season. He made an annual pilgrimage between 2008 and 2016 and appeared once again last season with Oklahoma City.
Paul will join the roster for this year’s Western Conference All-Star Game with starting guards Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic, as well as frontcourt starting players LeBron James, Nikola Jokic and Kawhi Leonard.
The NBA All-Star Game will be held at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta on Sunday, March 7.
Here are the Western Conference reservations reported by Charania:
Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers
Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans