Just how good is Devin Booker? In my eyes, he's one of the most underrated players in the whole NBA. Booker is already one of the best perimeter scorers in the league. In fact, he's the 10th leading scorer in the whole association, averaging 26.1 points per game. What is his biggest forte, is also what's mostly used as a knock on his young NBA career, as people describe those as empty numbers.
Maybe it's just me, but I do feel like we're judging young NBA stars by an unfair standard. It does seem like we've become impatient when it comes to letting guys develop and mature as basketball players. Playing great on the individual level is not enough. People expect guys to shake the league up by their fifth season in the NBA. And that's just not how it works. For some guys, it does, but it doesn't make holding the others to the same standard fair. Eventually, numbers should impact winning, and that's fine. But is it fair to hold it against a 23-year old that he's not there yet? In some instances, it might be, but as I said, it shouldn't be the standard we judge them by.
That being said, Booker is already playing at an All-NBA level. He's been a prolific scorer ever since his sophomore campaign in the league. All he did after it is he added something to his offensive repertoire. This year's addition was efficiency. Booker is averaging the fewest FGAs since his rookie season and is still dropping 26 a game. The trajectory he's on in terms of efficiency, Booker may end up becoming the next player joining the 50/40/90 club.
Coming into the league, Booker was seen as a pure catch-and-shoot scorer. Over the years, he's grown into a much more all-around threat, as he added playmaking as an integral part of his game. Booker has learned how to get his guys involved, even with a guy like Ricky Rubio orchestrating the offense. It makes his 6.6 APG even more impressive. However, this number may be misleading, as Booker is also averaging 3.9 turnovers per game. Lowering that number is a priority for him. It's a maturity thing and growing pains of transitioning from being a one-dimensional sharpshooter to actually handling the ball and trying to make plays for others. He also has to become better as a defender. Book has shown flashes of being a solid NBA defender, but doing it consistently is the challenge.
Nevertheless, Booker's mentality has guys optimistic about him further developing as an NBA star. His former head coach Earl Watson testified to it. Booker's mentality can be best described with the fact that he already thinks he's better than Jordan. Yes, you've read it right! He already thinks he's better than MJ. Here's why.
Devin was like, 'I'm better than Jordan.' I'm like how did you figure that? He was like, 'What can Jordan do that I can't do? Jordan never had 70 at Boston.' I was like 'Yeah, but MJ could play defense and dunk on people. You don't do either one yet. You have a lot of room to grow.'
Earl Watson, In The Zone
Don't get it twisted; Booker wasn't being literal. At least I hope so. But I love the mentality. I love the standard he's holding himself to. Even Watson has said it; it's not the mindset you challenge as a coach. You have to let it take form. You have to let him believe it because belief is stronger than reality.
And over the years, Booker's constant improvements show he's in the right mindset. That's why I have no doubt about the guy. He just has to keep doing what he's doing. The team's success will come, and when it does, no one will be able to say he's putting up empty numbers. Just be patient.
BTW, would you give Booker the edge over Kobe and Jordan in any of these ten categories?