Suns' Monty Williams Says Devin Booker's Lack of MVP Hype 'Kind of Silly'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVApril 7, 2022

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - APRIL 05: Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns high fives Chris Paul #3 after a three-point shot against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on April 05, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams believes Devin Booker should be the front-runner for MVP this season despite players like Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo getting more hype to win the award.

"How many guys with his numbers and our record weren't the MVP?" he asked reporters Wednesday. "I've heard in Book's case it's because he plays with Chris [Paul]. That's kind of silly because [James] Harden won one playing with Chris."

Williams isn't alone in holding that belief:

First Take @FirstTake

.<a href="https://twitter.com/stephenasmith?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@stephenasmith</a> says Devin Booker should be under strong consideration for NBA MVP 👀 <a href="https://t.co/UO1CEJzOT2">pic.twitter.com/UO1CEJzOT2</a>

MarkJonesESPN @MarkJonesESPN

Draymond Greens Award Picks :<br><br>MVP: Devin Booker<br><br>MIP: Jordan Poole<br><br>DPOY: Mikal Bridges<br><br>ROY: Evan Mobley<br><br>COY: Ime Udoka<br>Via Draymond Green Podcast. I always say “players know better than anyone,they’re the ones on the front line”…

The argument in favor of Booker is that he's the leading scorer (26.7 PPG) on the best team in basketball. It's not particularly close—at the time of publication the Suns were 63-16, eight wins better than any other team.

Now you could make the argument that the Western Conference is having something of a down year, with a number of past contenders like the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers and Denver Nuggets dealing with major injuries throughout the year.

But the Eastern Conference is loaded this season, and the Suns went 25-5 against those teams. They've had an incredible regular season.

It's a bit easier to make the argument against Booker being the MVP, however. He's currently just 10th in scoring average and doesn't offer an equivalent secondary skill to players like Jokic (elite playmaker from the center position), Embiid or Antetokounmpo (both elite defenders).

You want advanced stats? Booker is 20th in win shares (7.5), 17th in VORP (3.5), 20th in box plus-minus (4.0), 38th in player impact estimate (13.7) and 26th in player efficiency rating (21.45). For context, the trio of Jokic, Embiid and Antetokounmpo all rank top-three in each of those metrics.

Booker's had a great season. But the best player doesn't always play on the team with the best record. That's likely the argument MVP voters will make when they vote for either Jokic, Embiid or Giannis.

Advanced stats via Basketball Reference and NBA.com.