With the 13th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns selected former Kentucky Wildcat sharpshooter Devin Booker. Booker led the 2014-15 Wildcats in three point shooting percentage at 41% and the Suns are looking to add three point shooting to their point guard heavy rotation. The Suns already have former Cats Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Archie Goodwin on the roster and by adding Devin Booker, the eyes of the Big Blue Nation will be looking westward as Phoenix becomes BBN-West.
Like every other player on this past season’s team, Devin Booker sacrificed a lot of personal goals for the team’s success. Despite being a highly touted recruit, Booker decided to attend UK with Aaron Harrison firmly entrenched as the team’s starting shooting guard. Booker was a fixture on the white platoon, but by averaging 10.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game, shooting 47% from the field, 41% from three and 82.8% from the free throw line, he made himself a fixture at the end of games. Booker’s best performance occurred on January 10 when he scored 18 points (4-7 from three) and snagged 3 rebounds to lead the Cats to a double overtime victory.
Like other players under head coach John Calipari, Booker didn’t necessarily hit Lexington as a bona fide one and done player. Over the course of the year, it became obvious that his game would translate to the next level. With the Golden State Warriors winning the NBA Title with small, quick and deadeye shooting guards, other teams will be quick to imitate formula. And Phoenix is certainly banking on Booker’s shooting ability to mix with the other former Kentucky guards and get the Suns back into the playoff picture.
So far, the Suns have to be pleased with what they’ve seen from Devin Booker from his play in the NBA Summer League. On Sunday, July 19, Booker shot 10-17 from the field (5-9 from three), scoring 31 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead Phoenix to a 93-87 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans and into the Summer League championship game. Against the San Antonio Spurs in the championship game, Booker struggled a bit only scoring 10 points, but he did shoot 2-3 from three. Sure, there are a lot of guys that light up the NBA Summer League and never log any time in the NBA, but Booker’s overall body of work leads us all to believe that he’s got the goods to be the next big thing in Phoenix.
As the son of former professional ballplayer and University of Missouri legend, Melvin Booker, Devin seems to have all the intangibles, both on and off the court, for a successful NBA career. Most scouts had him tabbed as the best shooter in June’s draft. And while that’s no indicator of future success, it’s clear that Booker can shoot and score on an elite NBA level.
Hopefully, the belief that the one and dones at Kentucky don’t make connections with the fan base can finally be dispelled. Even though Booker wasn’t a starter and only averaged 10 points a game, he was surely a fan favorite with the Big Blue Nation. So much so that after the season, there became a “thing” about fans licking his car. While I don’t really understand that, I think it’s more than fair to say that Devin Booker will always have a spot to call home in the Bluegrass. And hopefully, the fans of the Phoenix Suns will feel the same way.