How big of a concern should Devin Booker’s hamstring injury be for the top-seeded Phoenix Suns?
A day after Booker left Phoenix’s Game 2 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans in the third quarter, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that Booker is unlikely to play in either Game 3 or 4 in New Orleans due to what the Suns diagnosed as a mild hamstring strain .
Phoenix, which finished with an NBA-best 64-18 record, suffered six of those losses in the 14 games Booker missed during the regular season — although half of the losses without Booker came in the final eight days of the schedule as the Suns remained multiple players. Still, Booker has emerged as perhaps Phoenix’s most important player, becoming a candidate for MVP and first-team All-NBA.
How likely are the Suns to get at least a split against the Pelicans on the road to reclaim home-court advantage in the series? And what impact would an extended absence have as Phoenix tries to claim the first championship in franchise history?
Let’s break down the impact of Booker’s injury.
How the Suns’ game plan changes without Booker
Booker’s longest absence during the regular season came at the start of December, when he missed seven games due to a strain of his other hamstring. During that stretch, Phoenix went 5-2 with a modest plus-3.1 differential, down substantially from the team’s league-leading plus-7.4 mark over the course of the season.
Naturally, the Suns are lucky to have a safety net.