One Player the LA Clippers Can Expose on Each West Contender

LA Clippers Montrezl Harrell (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
LA Clippers Montrezl Harrell (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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LA Clippers Patrick Beverley Devin Booker
LA Clippers Patrick Beverley Devin Booker (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

LA Clippers’ Target on the Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker

It’s weird to say, but the following two statements are true, in my mind:

  • Devin Booker is the best player on the Phoenix Suns.
  • The LA Clippers should be looking to target Devin Booker if they meet in the playoffs

Make no mistake, I’m not calling Devin Booker a liability, and I’m not saying the LA Clippers shouldn’t worry about him at all. I remember his game winner in the bubble against the Clips all too well.

But this season, the LA Clippers, and Paul George especially, seem to be taking pleasure in beating Booker and the Suns. There’s no denying that Book’s a very talented player, but he hasn’t performed quite as well against the Clips. On the season, Book plays 33.8 minutes per game, but he’s been on the floor for 40.5 minutes per game against the Clippers. Look at his stats per 36 minutes, to normalize:

  • Devin Booker 2020-21 Season, Per 36 Minutes: 27.4 points, 4.8 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 20.5 field goal attempts (49% from the field)
  • Devin Booker 2020-21 Vs. Clippers, Per 36 Minutes: 21.7 points, 3.5 assists, 4.9 rebounds, 11.5 field goal attempts (50% from the field)

Look, Booker’s a shot maker, there’s no denying it. The LA Clippers haven’t been able to make any dent in his ability to put the ball in the basket. What they’ve done, instead, is held him to just over half of his attempts. Sure he can make shots, but the Clips aren’t letting him even get them off.

And that’s just on the offensive end. On defense, the Suns often try to hide Devin Booker on Nicolas Batum, who isn’t nearly the offensive threat as the other wings for the LA Clippers. Batum is the Clipper who’s been guarded for the most time, per NBA stats.

But in today’s NBA, it’s a simple task to force a switch, so the second most common matchup on the LA Clippers for Devin Booker is Paul George, and PG has feasted. When guarded by Booker, George scores a hair over 2 points per minute and shoots 85.7% from the field.

If the LA Clippers and Phoenix Suns match up in the playoffs, you have to think that Coach Lue is excited to find ways to keep forcing Devin Booker to guard Paul George, and that will expose Book.