The Suns’ Finals Redemption Tour 2022 just got more difficult.
Despite being the best team in the regular season, Phoenix will have to push through a stretch of the postseason without Devin Booker — who’s out at least 2-3 weeks with a Grade 1 hamstring strain.
The Pelicans tied the series at one apiece on Wednesday, and now the Suns head to New Orleans on Friday without their star and biggest offensive weapon — who accounts for 23% of their $136.5 million payroll.
- Booker averaged 26.8 PPG and 5.0 RPG on 38.3% 3PT in the regular season — all career highs.
- In his absence, Deandre Ayton has been the team’s best scorer (17.2 PPG).
- The Suns were 56-12 with a 116.8 offensive rating with Booker — without him, they went 8-6 with a 109.7 rating.
- Booker is earning $31.7M this season and $101.5M through 2024.
Phoenix is a well-oiled machine, but Booker is the Suns’ highest-paid player for a reason. He’s the prime offensive motor, while Ayton operates in the post and isn’t a playmaker.
The Suns will need to win this series without him, at which point they’d face either the Mavericks or Jazz in the second round.
Phoenix entered the postseason as clear title favorites (+275) but have dropped since Booker’s injury to second (+450) behind the Warriors (+300).