Load management has become a staple strategy for almost every NBA team and star. However, Devin Booker scoffed at the notion when asked by Sam Amick of The Athletic why he played 40 minutes against the Sacramento Kings on Monday when it was the third outing in four nights for the Phoenix Suns.
"I'm not a part of that, man (laughs)," Booker answered. "I'm 26 years old, man. I train hard. I spend a lot of time in the summer making sure my body's right to be able to take that load on, so I want to be out there, and I want to win basketball games and do what I have to do to help the team. That's just how I've always been."
Getting a lot of burn
The Suns' star has been getting a lot of burn this season, averaging 36.5 minutes, which is the eighth most in the Association. But Phoenix has needed every bit of those minutes as it battles for the top spot in the Western Conference without Chris Paul, who has been out since early November.
The trending point guard was initially said to have a sore heel. However, some parties around the league are skeptical of the Suns' reports, given that Paul has been out for more than three weeks. Newly promoted president of basketball operations James Jones reiterated the diagnosis and said he is "close" to suiting up again. Coach Monty Williams was a bit more open about the fact the Suns are being intentionally unclear.
His return will certainly take some weight off Booker's shoulders. While the eight-year shooting guard will likely reject any idea of sitting out games to rest, having another star to help out on offense can allow DBook to play fewer minutes and save up more energy in anticipation of a deep playoff run.
Invoking Kobe's spirit
Everyone knows that the three-time All-Star was a disciple of the late Kobe Bryant. And the Los Angeles Lakers legend was known for playing through injuries and giving all he got on the basketball court. Kobe even talked about it and said the reason behind the mentality is to provide those watching him with inspiration.
Perhaps Booker is among those who found inspiration from his idol's determination to "go out there and play." That resolve is lacking in some of the NBA stars of this generation. However, Suns fans are likely hoping that he can avoid any significant injuries while carrying Phoenix on his back.