When I drafted from the 11 or 12 slot, I was so confident with my choice. Well, at least I was when I selected Devin Booker. Oh gosh, how you have made me look silly Devin. It seems he has forgotten how to shoot free throws, as he’s converted at a ridiculously low 73.5% on the season. For context, he’s a career 86% shooter from the stripe. Booker has averaged 21.1 points and 1.9 three-pointers, down from his career averages of 22.4 points and 2 three-pointers per game. He’s also turning the ball over at an elevated 5.3 per game. I don’t care about turnovers but they do affect his overall value. As a result, he’s been the 162nd player on a per-game basis. Here’s why Booker will be fine and is my bounce-back player of the week.

Over the past three years, he’s finished as the 48th, 42nd, and 29th player on a per-game basis. He’s averaged 26.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 2.3 three-pointers over that span. Booker has converted 46% of his field-goal attempts, 35% from beyond the arc, and 89% from the free-throw line.  He has averaged 3.3 turnovers over his career. The usage rate has increased over the years as he garnered more responsibility, but 5.3 seems like an outlier number, especially considering that his prior career-high was 4.1 back in 2018, when he had a 32 usage rate.

Now, the addition of Chris Paul to the roster has had an effect. Paul is notorious for slowing down the pace and guiding a more methodical offense. Last season, Phoenix was 10th in offensive pace. This year? They are dead-last. The shot attempts have cratered for Booker as well. He’s averaging 15.9 field goal attempts through seven games. In the prior four seasons, he was hoisting 18-19 shots per game. Finally, the assist numbers are down by almost two per game (4.4 vs 6.5), which makes sense because Paul is the primary distributor now.

The assist numbers and field goal attempts will likely remain depressed but it’s not all doom and gloom. The shooting efficiency has increased to 49.5% and the usage rate is still at a healthy 29.7. Those numbers were 48.9% and 29.9 last season respectively. Paul is feeding him good looks while also spacing out the floor to allow Booker to operate more freely when he does have the ball in his hands.

Booker is too good of a player to keep turning the ball over at the frequency that he has. It’s probably a function of still figuring out how to play alongside Paul. Finally, he’s an amazing shooter so the 73.5% free-throw rate is not going to continue. Over the past five years, he’s finished the season converting 84%, 83%, 87%, 86%, and 91%.

Now is the time to start breaking out the lowball offers. Throw out some guys like Tobias Harris, Brandon Ingram, DeMar DeRozan, and maybe even a guy like Jaylen Brown. The turnaround is coming and it could start as soon as tomorrow night against the Raptors.