Devin Booker Listed as a 2018 MVP Sleeper by The Ringer

by Cody Cunningham

Devin Booker has already hit many career milestones and accomplishments throughout his short NBA career, but could MVP be next for his taking? Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer labeled the young Sun a sleeper to finish atop the 2018-19 MVP race.

O’Connor began his piece touching on the improvements Booker has shown throughout his first three seasons. He has consistently improved in each of the three key statistics (points, rebounds and assists) in every year of his career.

If 2017-18 wasn’t considered Booker’s breakout season, O’Connor believes that this coming year could be. 

“Last season, Booker became only the 11th player to average over 24 points before turning 22 years old,” O’Connor said. “LeBron James and Kevin Durant did it twice, and the five retired players who did it all made the Hall of Fame. It’s a good sign for Booker.”

Not only does O’Connor see more improvements in Booker’s future, but he believes that Booker now has the surrounding pieces to help him reach the next level of his career. 

“The Suns loaded up their roster with versatile wings who can shoot and switch screens and drafted rookie center Deandre Ayton, who can space the floor to the 3-point line,” O’Connor said.

While Booker was looked at as solely a pure shooter coming out of Kentucky, O’Connor thinks his “drastically improved” ball handling could be the key to his success.

“He’s crafty once he gets in the lane, utilizing floaters and off-balance layups,” O’Connor said. “If a shot isn’t available, he’s a willing, capable passer.”

This combo-guard mentality is helping draw the comparison from Booker to the 2017-18 MVP, James Harden.

“The mold for Booker should be James Harden,” O’Connor said. “If the Suns space the floor and Booker runs a heavy dose of pick-and-roll, then he’ll naturally end up isolating against slower players on a switch, much like Harden does. Then it’s on Booker to finish the job.”

Booker looks poised to shine yet again for Suns in 2018 as he’s been spending the summer working out with Team USA as well as continuing to develop his NBA body. As for MVP, we’ll just have to wait and see what the 21-year-old has in store for this upcoming season.