The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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The Devin Booker Debate

Earlier this week, Devin Booker dropped 50+ points for the second consecutive game and the Suns lost both.

I tweeted the following about Booker’s heroics and the team’s struggles:

What followed was a bunch of difference reactions from Suns fans that ranged from “THANK YOU FOR SPEAKING THE TRUTH!” to “YOU ARE THE DUMBEST HUMAN BEING ON PLANET EARTH!”, basically your average day on twitter.

Many fans that took exception to the tweet were upset that I would blame Booker for the teams struggles and/or not be willing to celebrate the accomplishments of the only good thing this franchise has going for it.

Let me explain the tweets further.

First, the focus on this team should be the incredible losing...ALWAYS. Celebrating individual accomplishments while the team has 17 wins might be tempting to disrupt the misery but it’s counterproductive to the larger goals of turning this team around. 

I don’t expect Booker to hang his head in shame and not enjoy his accomplishments because the team lost but I also don’t expect fans to throw a ticker tape parade for a team/player that continues to lose just because one player has found a way to shine.

Second, I specifically said I was not blaming Booker. My biggest issues with the reaction to Booker’s individual excellence in another miserable season is it allows some Suns fans to excuse the franchise from its own awfulness.

Booker has provided cover for the Suns and Robert Sarver for long enough.

His own excellence has been manipulated to get fans to believe that a better, brighter future is on the horizon solely due to his presence.

And thats not true. The team is worse this year than it was last year and that was with the additions of Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges and of course Trevor Ariza earlier in the year.

Why are they worse? Because the culture from the top down is rotten.

Instead of hoping/believing/expecting Devin Booker to save the Suns from themselves; every loss by 30+, every loss at home to a lesser talented team, every loss that Devin Booker or Deandre Ayton excels should be further reason to put public pressure on Robert Sarver.

No one believes the Suns are close to following the model franchises of the NBA like the Warriors, Rockets, Bucks, Raptors or Celtics. But the fact they continue to be miles behind teams like the Kings and Nets, who have players that previously were viewed as having lower ceilings than Devin Booker and don’t have the #1 overall pick from last year, should be an outrage to all Suns fans.

These shouldn’t be teams that are more than doubling the Suns win total in year 4 of Devin Booker’s career or year 9 of their playoff drought.

Sure, Devin Booker could be better defensively and his three point shooting is a career low this year but this isn’t about blaming Devin Booker. He’s really good. He is supposed to be what is right about the franchise.

But when Bobby Sarvs is running the show, somehow even Devin Booker can be turned into a negative.

Don’t blame me, I don’t own the team.

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