Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns have reached the 2021 NBA finals playing alongside an all-time great point guard in Chris Paul and a young, up-and-coming big man, DeAndre Ayton. But what if any selection of players could be chosen to fill out a line-up around the guard of the Western Conference Champion Suns? Similar to the roster for his Finals counterpart, Giannis Antetokounmpo, the all-time lineup that best optimizes Booker will be constructed.
Point Guard: Tim Hardaway w/ Golden State Warriors
Career Averages: 17.7 PTS, 3.3 TRB, 8.2 AST, 43% FG, 35.5% 3PT
Running the point guard of this hypothetical lineup is Tim Hardaway. With his quick hands averaging over 1.5 steals a game over his career, and his ability to create off the dribble is the ideal makeup to play with the Suns’ superstar. Hardaway played off a superstar scorer similar to Devin Booker in Chris Mullin during his time with Golden State, so this should be nothing new for him.
Shooting Guard: Devin Booker w/ Phoenix Suns
Career Averages: 23 PTS, 3.7 TRB, 4.6 AST, 45.5% FG, 35.2% 3PT
At the shooting guard is the man the lineup is built around: Devin Booker. Booker has reached the Finals in just his sixth year in the league. Surrounding him on the 2021 Suns is a versatile team that can spread the floor, much like the team constructed here.
Small Forward: Shawn Marion w/ Phoenix Suns
Career Averages: 15.2 PTS, 8.7 TRB, 1.9 AST, 48.4% FG, 33.1% 3PT
Versatility, length, and athleticism are what I went with at the wing for Booker. On this year’s Suns, Mikal Bridges has filled that void of athleticism and defense, but I am going with one of the best at that play style for this lineup. The Matrix is a tad bigger and a better rebounder which makes the selection for the big men easier as he can crash the glass well.
Power Forward: Kevin Love w/ Cleveland Cavaliers
Career Averages: 18 PTS, 11 TRB, 2.4 AST, 44.2% FG, 37% 3PT
With the Matrix filling the wing, Kevin Love can focus on spreading the floor. One of the better three-point shooting big men in the history of the NBA, the Booker-Love pick-and-pop will be a sight to see as both can fill it up in a hurry. Add in his championship experience, and he is a perfect running mate for D-Book.
Center: Ben Wallace w/ Detroit Pistons
Career Averages: 5.7 PTS, 9.6 TRB, 1.3 AST, 47.4% FG, 2 BLK
With size, scoring, and excellent rebounders at the forwards, defense and versatility can be focused on. Anchoring the Devin Booker All-Time Lineup is Ben Wallace. Wallace adds a four-time defensive player of the year, toughness, and a pretty awesome afro to what is already a stout defensive team. He may lack in scoring compared to Booker’s current center DeAndre Ayton, but what he lacks in scoring he makes up for in effort.
6th Man: Toni Kukoc w/ Chicago Bulls
Career Averages: 11.6 PTS, 4.2 TRB, 3.7 AST, 44.7% FG, 33.5% 3PT
Coming off the bench is one of the better sixth men in history, Toni Kukoc. With his Finals experience, scoring ability, and versatility, he can create many possible lineups around Booker.
Team Totals based off Career Averages
- Points: 91.2
- Rebounds: 40.5
- Assists: 22.1
- AVG FG %: 45.5%
The All-Time ‘Optimal Lineup’
- Point Guard: Tim Hardaway
- Shooting Guard: Devin Booker
- Small Forward: Shawn Marion
- Power Forward: Kevin Love
- Center: Ben Wallace
- 6th Man: Toni Kukoc
With primary ballhandlers, Hardaway and Booker, the Matrix, Kevin Love, and Kukoc should have no problem finding open space to take and make open threes. Defensively the team has versatility with Wallace at the center position and Marion manning the small forward. The lineup can go small with Marion and Kukoc at the forwards and Love at the center, or big with Kukoc playing a bigger guard.
Overall, the team is led by two guards who can shoot effectively, with the point guard being able to create off the dribble. Add in its defensive versatility, and the makeup is similar to what NBA fans have seen with this year’s Suns team.
BRACE YOURSELVES, THE FINALS ARE COMING
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