The NBA, perhaps more than any other league, is a place where one superstar can change an entire team. All it takes is a single elite scorer or powerful offensive threat to generate a good offense and kickstart a playoff team. That’s what makes Devin Booker so valuable.
The guard has been a great scorer ever since he got in the league. Even among all of the great offensive weapons in today’s NBA, he manages to stand out from the pack. The following games will reveal why.
A Rare Breed
Booker is one of the most interesting scorers in modern basketball. That’s because, where almost all of the top players rely on the deep ball for points, he gets most of his baskets from strong drives, powerful finishes, and pull ups. He’s one of the few left with a pure mid game.
Not only does that make him an outlier in the league when compared to other top scorers like Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic, but it also means he has to work a bit harder for his big games. Still, he’s had more than his fair share.
A Historical Night
For the most part, NBA stars get better as their career progresses. Reaching the league is a big shift and takes some getting used to. That’s why players have their biggest scoring nights as they enter their prime. That’s not necessarily what happened to Booker.
Though the young star did need some time to hit his stride, his first (and most impressive) scoring performance occurred during just his third year in the league when facing the Celtics in Boston. During that game Booker didn’t just play well, he completely took over.
Though the Suns lost the game, Booker put up 70 points. That’s almost unheard of in any time period. In fact, he was just the sixth player in the entire history of the NBA to hit that mark. He was the first player to do it since Kobe in 2006 and the second player to do it since the 90’s.
It was one of the best scoring games of any player in NBA history, and will forever be etched into the history books. While Booker has yet to get back to that night, it’s not the only time he put up big numbers. He’s had a few great follow ups.
One After the Other
Booker’s next incredible scoring game came in 2019, when he and a rapidly rising Suns team faced off in Utah against the Jazz. Two years after his unbelievable night in Boston, Booker put up 59 points in a strong, well-rounded performance.
As with the Boston game, the Suns also lost. Still, it cemented Booker as an incredible scorer and one of the best offensive players ever. The contest pushed him into elite company as well.
He joined Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, and Michael Jordan as the only players to have multiple games of 59 or more points within their first four seasons. However, the Suns guard didn’t stop there. In just two days, he hit the fifty mark again.
Coming off the 59 point night, Booker put up 50 against the Wizards. Getting that many points in one game is hard enough, but doing it in back-to-back contests is ridiculous. He became the youngest player in league history to have consecutive 50 point games.
The Threat of Consistency
The above contests show that Booker is one of the best and most efficient scorers in NBA history. However, those weren’t the only times he went off. He eclipsed fifty two other times in his career, both in 2022.
The first happened on November 30th against the Bulls, while the second occurred on December 17th against the Pelicans. In the first contest Booker hit 51, and in the second he put up an incredible 58 point show.
The Suns also managed to win both games, which shows their progression as a team as well as Booker’s personal progression as a player. He may not hit seventy again, but sixty is more than within reach. Once he gets going he’s not just good, he’s almost unstoppable.
Devin Booker is one of the best scorers, not just in the modern NBA, but of all time. He’s not quite as high profile as some of the other all-time greats, nor is he as flashy. Still, the above games show his dominance and ability to get the ball through the hoop.
There’s almost no chance he’ll break his own personal record. Still, there’s plenty of time for him to put up other amazing performances. He already put up two big games within this past year, and with how well he plays, it’s likely he has a few more legendary nights in his pocket.