Suns vs. Nets NBA Pick
Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns visit the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night. With Kyrie Irving out for the Nets, can the Suns beat the NBA odds?
Phoenix Suns (20-29) vs. Brooklyn Nets (21-27)
Monday, February 3 at 7:30 PM ET, Barclays Center
Devin Booker Should Be an All-Star
There are snubs for the NBA All-Star game every year but Devin Booker is the biggest for 2020 and it’s been like that for him for a few years. Booker is averaging 27.2 points, 6.4 assists, and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 51.1 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from 3-point range in 36.0 minutes over 46 games.
Booker’s defense (minus-1.9 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) has plenty of room for improvement but the Suns would not be 20-29 and just four games behind the Grizzlies for the last playoff spot in the tough Western Conference without his offense (plus-4.4 Offensive Box Plus/Minus).
Booker averages 5.3 Win Shares (WS), more than Russell Westbrook and Donovan Mitchell. Win Shares are an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player. It is hard to believe that Booker is still after his first NBA All-Star game appearance.
“It was always a goal of mine,” Booker told reporters when asked about his NBA All-Star snub. “But it just reproves the point that the NBA is different than the game I fell in love with at the beginning, of all the best players in the All-Star Game, watching that growing up. Now it’s an entertainment-, drama-, political-filled league, but we’re a part of it now. It pays well, so I guess we should be quiet about it.”
He was asked how he would change the selection process and he said: “Put the best players in the game.” Booker also suggested his team’s record may have played a role.
Devin Booker (27.2) and Bradley Beal (28.9) are the only players to average over 27.0 points per game and not make the All-Star team in the last 35 years. Look for him to play with a chip on his shoulder for the rest of the season.
No Kyrie For a While
Kyrie Irving fell on top of Bradley Beal and suffered a knee sprain in the fourth quarter of a 113-107 loss against the Wizards last Saturday. Irving was able to walk around without assistance after the game but he was noticeably limping.
An MRI performed on Irving’s right knee on Sunday confirmed Saturday’s diagnosis of a medial ligament sprain. Irving will be re-evaluated in one week.
Irving broke several records after leading the Nets to a 133-118 win against the Bulls on Friday. He had a season-high 54 points on 19-for-23 from the field. His four missed shots are the second-fewest in a 50-point game only behind Wilt Chamberlain, who finished with 53 points for the 76ers on 20-for-23 from the field in a 160-122 win against the SuperSonics on December 20, 1967.
The Nets are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference standings, just a half-game ahead of the Magic and four games ahead of the Bulls and Wizards. Not having Irving for a long period of time is a tough blow for them and it compromises their playoff chances.
Spencer Dinwiddie is more than capable of going off but with Irving out, he will have to start and that leaves a scoring void on the bench. Caris LeVert (minus-4.0 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) is a special talent but he has just nine points in 40 minutes over his last two games. I can’t trust him to contribute with enough production to help us get this game Over the total.
The Under is 4-0 in Phoenix’s last four games against a team with a losing straight up record and 4-1 in Brooklyn’s last five games against a team with a losing straight up record.