Phoenix Suns goalie Devin Booker has rubbed shoulders with several impressive veterans during his six seasons in the NBA. He’s learned from guys like Tyson Chandler, Leandro Barbosa, Ricky Rubio, and now future Hall of Famer, Chris Paul.
Over the course of his journey from the draft pick at the back of the lottery to the Suns’ top scorer, Booker gives a player he has rubbed shoulders with more credit than most for teaching him the right way to be a professional: Phoenix Mercury and the great WNBA Diane Taurasi.
Devin Booker became an NBA superstar
Booker, the son of a former NBA player, played for a year at Kentucky before declaring himself for the 2015 NBA Draft. His time under coach John Calipari has been relatively unimpressive on a team. which included eventual No.1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns.
Booker averaged 10 points as a Wildcat with 1.1 assists and 2.0 rebounds in 25.1 minutes per game.
The Suns took their chances on the 6-foot-5 goaltender at No.13, even though NBA teams didn’t see Booker as a top prospect in this draft. The teams selected players like Jahlil Okafor, Mario Hezonia and Emmanuel Mudiay ahead of Booker, as well as three of his Kentucky teammates: Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein and Trey Lyles.
Booker quickly rewarded the Suns for their pick as part of the All-Rookie squad. Over the next several years, he became one of the league’s top pure scorers, even amassing 70 points in a single game in 2017. For his career, he made two all-star teams and averaged 23. 0 points, 4.5 assists and 3.7 rebounds with a live shooting percentage of 57.1.
Booker attributes part of his development to watching “the greatest of all time,” WNBA legend Diana Taurasi, work
Until Chris Paul joined the Suns in the 2020-21 season, Booker had never had a true NBA superstar in his locker room. However, he shared facilities with WNBA legend Diani Taurasi, and his work ethic rubbed off on the young star.
Booker recently told Insider:
Be in the locker room and in the weight room with [the Mercury] at the same time, and seeing how Diana goes about her business and her weights and her routine is something that has helped me develop and develop my game and develop my abilities and skills off the court at the same time. time.
He certainly chose an excellent model to emulate. Taurasi is arguably the greatest female basketball player of all time. She is the WNBA’s top scorer with 8,994 points and has won three NCAA titles at UConn and two in the WNBA. The playmaker has also won numerous individual and team awards while playing abroad.
Booker also says he enjoyed being around the other WNBA All-Stars players on the Mercury. Brittney Griner of Baylor and Skylar Diggins-Smith of Notre Dame also share a building with Booker’s Suns.
Booker must take another step to overtake Los Angeles Lakers in 2021 NBA playoffs
The 2021 NBA Playoffs mark Booker’s first playoff experience. After finishing second in the Western Conference in the regular season, the Suns were rewarded with an unenviable clash with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Booker and the Suns won Game 1. The Lakers won the next two, however, following Paul’s injury. As Paul recovered in Game 4, Lakers big man Anthony Davis fell and the Suns tied the series before Game 5.
Booker is averaging 25.3 points, 5.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds in the series. With the team’s veteran leader still in pain, the shooting guard will need to crank up some big numbers to get Phoenix up against the Lakers and beyond.
If Booker can channel his inner Diana Taurasi, the Suns should have a pretty good chance.
All statistics are courtesy of Basketball Reference and Sports reference
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