Accomplishments are great to achieve when they have eluded you for so long, but once you conquer that feat what do you do? Is that the end of striving to get to an even higher goal or does the hunger to be even greater stop within.
These are the scenarios facing All-Star Guard Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns, after finally achieving the goal of making an All-star game and being classed as one of the games best.
The season after the All-star game will tell just how driven Booker is to truly be elite, and so far after six games one may wonder if he is satisfied with his latest achievement.
Booker has been mediocre at best since the return from the All-star game,
has not recorded one of his patented 30 point games since the 2nd of February.
Carrying a team is not always about scoring a lot of points, its scoring those points for your team at the most crucial moments of a game to win.
The great ones do it on a daily basis, Devin Booker has yet to be the underlined reason for wins after the break, in fact, other all-stars have out played him since the break and his play seems to have gone complacent.
Paskal Siakam had 37, Kawhi Leonard outscored him with 24 to carry the Clippers past the Suns in the clutch moments of the game and Booker was no where to be found.
Although they won the Utah game, it was not because of the down the stretch play of Devin Booker that got the team going on that second half blowout, it was the bench play and a fired up Kelly Oubre and a hot De’Andre Ayton.
Donavan Mitchell out scored Booker 38 to 24, and Mitchell was stellar in making clutch shots to carry his team up until the point they got killed in the mid-third.
In the two previous ugly losses to the Pistons and Warriors, Derrick Rose took over the game in its closing minutes and the first time all-star Devin Booker continued to miss shots and turn the ball over at the most crucial of points.
Then an unknown rookie named Eric Paschall carried the Warriors in a waxing of the Suns coming from behind by 18 to win by 16, and outscoring the suppose all-star Booker 25 to 21.
Where was the high scoring percentage Devin Booker in this game? a game he certainly was capable of taking over but for some reason had no fire to push back a then 12 win Warriors team.
This is a problem, an all-star gone complacent in his recent achievement and if that is not the case, then he lacks the leadership it takes to propel his team to the next level.
Losses like the Warriors and Pistons at home and playoff possibilities still achievable should have been convincing wins, and dominated by the teams leader and all-star. The attitude of refusing to lose and taking over the reins and putting his team on his back is what true all-star players do, knowing the urgency of each home win to catch up in the playoff race was at stake and one laps could mean no chance.
Head Coach Monty Williams comes out and takes the blame and also displayed his disappointment with a little anger for the first time, and ended all post season notions with an almost Jim Mora “playoffs” rant of his own.
“Playoffs, forget that, we not thinking about that”
Nevertheless, Devin Booker’s second half season play has not matched his all-star accomplishment, he has been shooting the ball at a very poor clip for 5 out of 6 of the present games shooting a poor 39% from the field.
If the Phoenix Suns are going to make any noise to finish out this season, it will have to be done first by the leader of the team leading by example.
From attitude to performance, D-Book needs to take over games and get back to making shots that make the difference in a game.
He needs to cut down on his careless turnovers and show his teammates why he was selected to his first all-star game this year and not rely on his achievement alone.
Teams only go as far as their leader or leaders are willing to take them, and when those leaders don’t show up for games and play lacks with no energy, then the rest of the team follows suite and you have losses to teams you have no business losing too.
The question is going to start, has D-Book checked out of the season and gone complacent in is personal achievements, looking forward to an off-season to force his way to join a super team and has lost interest in his current team? These are valid questions because his play the second half of the season has yet to match that of a deserving all-star.