Who Has Been The Standout Player Thus Far In The NBA Playoffs?

NBA fans have been treated to exciting games and spectacular individual performances through the first round of the playoffs. De’Aaron Fox has announced himself as a legitimate star. Anthony Edwards is coming. Despite his injury, Kawhi Leonard has demonstrated yet again that when healthy he can lay claim to best player in the world.

Jimmy Butler has made it clear that he knows how to be a 16-game player with the performance of the playoffs thus far. But one player has been the best thus far through round one.

The Phoenix Suns defeated the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night winning their best-of-seven series 4-1. The Suns have been led by Devin Booker, who has been the best player through round one.

In five games, Booker is averaging 37 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and three steals per game on 60/46/85 shooting splits, and 66/69 eFG% and TS% efficiency.

Booker tallied 47 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists in Tuesday’s closeout game — an effort his teammate Kevin Durant called spiritual.

KD With High Praise For Book

“It was spiritual,” Durant said following the game. “I don’t scream too much in the games no more as I got older, but when we hit that 3 at the top of the key, I felt the energy, and I know everybody in our crowd felt it. So we feed off of his aggression — not just us on the team, but Suns fans watching TV, Suns fans in the arena. His impact and his presence just means a lot to us, so that was incredible to see and to be a part of.”

The Suns are 12-1, including the playoffs, with Durant. But Booker has been electric since March.

Durant’s presence on the floor allows Booker to see far fewer double teams and opponents’ secondary defenders. Booker was playing at All-NBA level seeing double teams and primary defenders,’ now that he isn’t he’s putting up historic MVP-like numbers.

“That’s just Book,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said postgame. “He would tell you he’s trained and waited for moments like that, and I’m just glad to have him on my side.”

Making History

With his performance, Booker now has the most 30-point and 40-point games in Suns playoff history. He’s the first player in NBA history to drop 45 points and 10 assists in a series-clinching win and is tied with KD for the 11th-most points scored through any player’s first 37 playoff games. He’s also the first guard in NBA playoff history to put up 35 points per game on 60 percent shooting over any five-game span in the postseason.

Booker is not only doing it on offense. He’s playing excellent defense, keeping his man in front of him, fighting over screens and getting his hands on loose dribbles for steals.

“I take a lot of pride in it, and I always have,” Booker said of his defense. “I had a reputation early in my career that I couldn’t do it. Being a part of a losing team was tough, and I had a lot of weight on my shoulders.”

Booker and the Suns head to Denver on Saturday for game 1 of their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinals matchup against the #1 seed Nuggets.

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