The NBA season is upon us. Time to get excited. More profiles to come…
Last year’s NBA rookie class was infused with numerous talents. It was headlined with the talents of Karl Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis. One rookie who quietly flew under the radar was Devin Booker who was selected by the Phoenix Suns. Drafted thirteenth in the 1st round after a stellar freshmen year at the University of Kentucky, he joined a young Suns team and after a few runs was regarded one of the best young shooters in the league. A late season rise gave him all-rookie honors, finishing his rookie campaign averaging 13.8 points per game, a 42 % field goal percentage and 34% from behind the arc. Going into his sophomore season, Booker is not only regarded as an excellent shooter but one of the best all around players for the next generation of superstars.
Now it’s only preseason, but the past Friday in Portland, Booker dropped 34 points in an array of ways that left fans more than impressed. If Friday night is any indication of the future of Booker’s career, we are looking at one of the top players in the league. Now the NBA is an organization that is filled with talent, from player 1 to player 400, but you know you must be doing it right when you are being noticed and respected by your fellow peers. Being called one of the up-and-comers to watch by Jimmy Butler and a future all-star by LeBron James must mean that Booker actually gets “it” and has “it”. At 19 years old, his offensive game is ahead of the curve. Don’t be fooled by the shy by 13.8 points from his rookie season. There is so much up side to this kid, you have to jump on the Booker train. When its all said and done, he will be an All Star multiple times, probably lead the league in 3-point shooting, and one of the best from this generation. A player at his size, 6’6, with that smooth of a touch is very rare and is so valuable now with the direction the league is going. An offensive heavy league where every player is finely tuned to shoot on the spot while being a five tool athlete to play each position. His athleticism gives him a unique skill set that can allow him to post up inside the arc and unleash that beautiful jump shot. Booker can also be incredibly valuable in an up tempo system. His ability to glide up and down the court in transition and his quick release will make him more lethal as he becomes more efficient.
Booker is no where near the All Star level yet. There are many aspects of his game that still need work and some improvements are already noticeable, such as his 8 assists in Friday night’s preseason game. There is something so exciting about watching a player develop and in a league full of so much young talent, Booker is one of the few who is excelling at a rapid pace. Not only is he skilled, but he understands who he is, what he is doing and taking on that role. Booker is the face a young Phoenix Suns squad with some intriguing talent (Tyler Ulis, Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss) and embracing the leadership role. He knew how to win while at Kentucky, one would have to imagine he’s going to want to bring that to the NBA. Why wouldn’t he? His peers and fellow Wildcat alum have had success, there’s no doubt he wants in on the bragging rights. We all know Boogie Cousins has been throwing some trash talk at the young stud.
There are so many what ifs and factors that go into a situation like this. When you watch Devin Booker play though, you know he will be an outstanding player. The hype surrounding him is legitimate, and you need to believe it. He will get to that All Star caliber and maybe even exceed that expectation. Its still so early, but thats the exciting part. With Booker and all of the young talents in the league, there is so much for us fans to look forward. The difference with Booker is, at the age of 19, you can already see it.