Suns' Monty Williams Says Devin Booker's Lack of MVP Hype 'Kind of Silly'April 7, 2022
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:
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.