Devin Booker Takes Aim at LeBron James, Joel Embiid and Fellow MVP Candidates With Controversial NBA Take

Published 03/23/2022, 12:00 PM EDT
Jan 20, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) reacts during the first half against the Dallas Mavericks during the first half at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Devin Booker has always been Phoenix’s chosen one since he arrived at the franchise in 2015. After a massive stretch of playoff absences, Booker would play a key role alongside Chris Paul to get the team, not just into the playoffs, but to the NBA Finals. At just 25 years of age, Booker seems to be having the time of his life. Powered by his extraordinary scoring ability, the Suns have earned the best record in the NBA this season.

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Jul 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) speaks with guard Chris Paul (3) against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second half in game one of the 2021NBA Finals at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With the aim of becoming legendary like his idol Kobe Bryant, Booker continues to perform at a high level. Even in the absence of Chris Paul, he has remained the Suns’ pillar of strength. So, it makes sense to consider him among the top players to receive the MVP award. After all, he is the centerpiece of the best team in the league.

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At least, that’s what NBA legend Isiah Thomas says. However, Booker made a statement regarding the NBA’s criteria to determine the MVP.

Devin Booker on the MVP Criteria

In response to Isiah Thomas praising the Suns’ star, saying that being the leading scorer of the best team in the league is part of the MVP criteria, Booker had something different to say. Although he appreciated the legend’s praise, he believes that the criteria changes from player to player.

“Appreciate that IT. But the ‘criteria’ changes depending on the players name,” said Booker.

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Clearly, Booker hopes to be named among the NBA’s elite. However, he feels that the criteria to determine the NBA’s MVP changes from player to player. Additionally, his statements appear to be a subtle aim at fellow MVP candidates such as LeBron James and Joel Embiid. Moreover, the ‘Kia MVP Ladder‘ reveals higher rankings for Joel Embiid and other stars such as Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Ja Morant, despite Booker being the leading scorer of the best team in the league.

Booker in the Absence of Chris Paul

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Chris Paul’s arrival to Phoenix was a major boost for the franchise. As a veteran leader who can play at a high level, lead the team, and is also looking for his first ring, Paul formed an explosive backcourt partnership with Booker. He was not just a scorer for the team, but also a playmaker and a good defender. However, one would expect the Suns to fall. However, that has not been the case.

Devin Booker’s Scoring During The 2021-22 NBA Regular Season (Stats Valid as of 23rd March 2022)

Behind Booker’s performances, the franchise still keeps its hold at the top of the NBA. In fact, they are on a 5 game winning streak with an 8-2 record over the last 10 games. Moreover, they have even clinched first place in the Pacific Division.

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So there clearly is a major impact from Booker. As the season winds down and playoffs close in, the Suns will hope for Booker to continue his hot form and Paul to return. It looks Booker and the Suns are going after the title once again.

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Sameer Prasad Koppolu

273 articles

Sameer is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Having graduated from Manipal Institute of Technology, he has always had a keen interest in basketball and the numbers behind the game. With a goal to become a Sports Performance Analyst for a professional sports team, Sameer brings insights backed by data.

Edited By: Arunaditya Aima

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