Devin Booker Sees Daylight In a Suns Win

After two consecutive losses to start the four game road-trip, the Suns were able to pull out a thrilling win against the Milwaukee Bucks behind a game-winning bucket from Jamal Crawford.

The Suns elected to start this game with Devin Booker at the point guard spot, similar to the Sixers game earlier on the road trip.

Much has been made of whether to play Booker at the point guard position. With the emergence of rookie Mikal Bridges as a ” 3 and D” player, many Suns fans have been begging first year head coach Igor Kokoskov to start the Booker – Bridges combo.

The Suns starting lineup of Booker – Bridges – Ariza – Warren – Ayton has a net rating of +21.4 while a lineup of Canaan – Booker – Ariza – Warren – Ayton has a net rating of -26.6. It’s clear the Suns best option is to play Booker at the point guard spot along side Bridges; the key for Kokoskov will be to figure out the rest of the rotation.

In this game specifically, the value of playing Booker on-ball showed. This is a Double Drag screen action the Suns call ‘0’. The Bucks were content with sitting back and allowing Booker to get to his spots in the mid-range, he made them pay.

For the most part this season teams have been making it difficult on Booker to get to his spots, hard hedging and trapping him when he is on-ball. The Bucks elected to play it differently to start the game.

This is another action the Suns ran to exploit the Bucks defensive strategy. It’s a simple DHO with Booker and Ayton, Booker makes a good read three times and is able to get to his spot.

Later on in the fourth quarter there were possessions where the Lopez started hedging and the Bucks made it difficult for Booker to get to his spots. It was also in part due to the Suns going back to running Booker in High PnR out of their ‘Chin’ series.

It’s clear studying the film that Suns have improvements to make when teams trap or hard hedge Booker.

Overall, the Suns showed progress in a gritty win over a quality opponent. For the Suns to continue riding this momentum it is key to put Booker in simple but effective actions that can dictate the defense.

Heading into Detroit, the Suns should continue playing Booker at the point guard position, relying on his play-making ability to make others around him better and his shot-making ability to finish it off in the closing moments.

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