Suns’ Devin Booker will love Josh Okogie’s message after game-sealing block on Paolo Banchero

Every NBA Championship contender needs at least one player who can do the dirty work. A guy who will embrace the challenge of defending the star player on the opposing team. There is no room for timidity and hesitation in this role. Despite the recent Kevin Durant setbacks, the Phoenix Suns can take solace knowing that Josh Okogie is committed to being a defensive force for this team.

Thursday, Phoenix avoided a scare against the Orlando Magic in a game that included plenty of highlight plays and even some shenanigans. Okogie was all business, though, recording the game-clinching block on Rookie of the Year favorite Paolo Banchero en route the 116-113 victory. Although he was the game’s hero (also had 15 points and four assists), it was just another day at the office for the fifth-year guard.

“I’ve been doing this since I got to the league. It’s nothing new to me,” Okogie said postgame via NBA on Twitter. “I love the challenge. I love the opportunity to go out there and guard Stephen Curry, go out there and guard Giannis {Antetokounmpo}, Banchero, Franz Wagner. I think it’s fun, and I’m always up to the challenge.”

No one should be happier to hear those comments than teammate and franchise star Devin Booker, who led the team with 19 points. With or without Durant, the 2022 All-NBA First Team selection will need to take over games in the playoffs. He will be able to completely focus on that objective with Okogie willingly diving into the trenches to take on the best offensive talents in the NBA. Those are teammates who build chemistry and contribute to title runs.

Okogie’s defensive prowess is why the Suns signed him last offseason. It has been a great union for both parties thus far. The 24-year-old is averaging seven points in 17 minutes and has been a pivotal bench player due to his smothering pressure. Defense tends to ramp up in the postseason, so his value and role could further increase.

That is great news for Durant, Booker and Chris Paul. Okogie is determined to prove that depth is not an issue for this team.

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