Devin Booker is Phoenix’s franchise player, but one team may be lurking as a potential landing spot if he ever starts to sour on the team.
Marc Berman of the New York Post reported on Saturday that the Suns guard is the New York Knicks’ trade target “to watch out for most” ever since the hiring of Leon Rose as team president. Bermans adds that recent rumblings are Booker, a former Rose client, could grow tired of the constant losing in Phoenix. The 23-year-old also attended the University of Kentucky, making him close with new Knicks front office hire William Wesley.
Booker, a 2020 NBA All-Star, agreed to a lucrative extension with the Suns two summers ago that will keep him under contract through the 2023-24 season. Thus, a move to the Knicks or elsewhere in the near future would have to come via trade. Phoenix has yet to even win 30 games in a season since the fourth-year guard Booker arrived though, so a trade request is not impossible.
While Booker is far from the only former Rose client to be linked to the Knicks since the team’s hiring of Rose, he could very well be the biggest fish yet.
An evaluation of an NBA player’s legacy is one of the most volatile aspects of the league, as in some cases, all it takes is a single game or shot to define an entire career. Every NBA player is looking to prove themselves whenever they step foot on the hardwood. However, there comes the point for specific players, where proving themselves becomes a necessity.
From former number one overall picks to potential league MVPs, here are the five players with the most to prove headed into Orlando.
Devin Booker could be going from wearing No. 1 to playing the 1 as well.
During a conference call with the media Thursday, Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams said that he wanted to explore using the All-Star shooting guard at the point guard position more often. Williams added that he had 10 to 12 minutes per game in mind, per Kellan Olson of 98.7 Arizona Sports.
The 23-year-old Booker, who is averaging 26.1 points per game this season, has also proven to be a quality playmaker. He has put up 4.7 assists per game for his career and is up to 6.6 of them a night in 2019-20. Booker is among the league leaders in turnovers however, which suggests room for improvement.
The ex-Kentucky star did get limited run at the 1 last season, but with Phoenix adding some more versatile pieces like Ricky Rubio and Kelly Oubre, they may have the flexibility to make Point Book a more regular thing. Hey, perhaps positional rigidity is why Booker thinks his player is messed up on NBA 2K.
Devin Booker explained himself after receiving some negative headlines on Sunday.
Booker took on Michael Porter Jr. in an NBA 2K20 video game tournament. Booker wasn’t picking his Phoenix Suns as his team to use in the game, which led to some criticism online.
Booker later tried to defend himself by claiming the game has his “player messed up.”
Does that mean he doesn’t think his ratings are accurate enough or reflect his true level of talent? Possibly. Or maybe if he has his choice, he’d prefer not to play with a team that has had a winning percentage under .300 four seasons in a row.
Booker plays video games online fairly regularly, and was actually online when he learned the NBA season had been suspended.
The postponement of the NBA season due to a pandemic is not something any player could have prepared for, and Devin Booker’s reaction to the news was a tremendous illustration of that.
Booker told Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times that he was livestreaming on Twitch while playing the popular video game “Call of Duty: Warzone” when he learned on March 11 that the 2019-20 NBA season had been postponed indefinitely. Another gamer informed Booker that Shams Charania of The Athletic reported the news, and the Phoenix Suns star thought it was speculation at first. He quickly began processing that he would not be playing competitive basketball until further notice.
Here’s the video, but beware that it contains some inappropriate language.
Booker explained to Marzaki that he was genuinely in disbelief.
“When they told me that the season was shut down, I couldn’t believe it,” he said. The world has never seen anything like this, which is why I reacted the way I did. That was my real-time reaction. I dropped a few curse words, which is not ideal, but I really couldn’t believe it.”
The reaction was certainly understandable. Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert’s positive coronavirus test essentially set off a domino effect of sports leagues cancelling or postponing their seasons, but it was impossible to understand the full scope of the situation when the decision to halt play first happened.
As we saw with Mike Evans’ reaction to the Buccaneers signing Tom Brady, athletes having candid reactions to big news on social media has become more common. Booker felt the same way most of us felt when the NBA news came down.
The Phoenix Suns are struggling through yet another difficult season in which they will miss the playoffs, and frustration seemed to boil over for first-year head coach Monty Williams following the team’s latest loss.
After the Suns fell 121-105 to the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, Williams criticized the officiating crew for the lack of calls his players have been receiving. He specifically mentioned Devin Booker, who Williams says has “hit the floor over and over and over again” this season without hearing a whistle.
Booker scored 29 points on Tuesday, but he was just 9-of-25 from the field. He got to the free throw line 10 times. That’s a healthy number of attempts, and Booker actually ranks ninth in the NBA this season with 7.1 free throw attempts per game. Williams clearly feels that number should be higher.
Williams was in a better mood following Phoenix’s last game against the Blazers, but the circumstances were a lot different then. The Suns have just 29 wins this year following Tuesday’s loss, so you can understand why the coach is starting to lose his cool.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker was clearly one of the biggest All-Star snubs and he’s not hiding his displeasure about it.
Despite averaging 27.1 points and 6.4 assists per game, Booker was left out of the squad for next month’s game in Chicago. Speaking to the media after learning the news, Booker said politics and drama had changed the game and made it so the best players are no longer named All-Stars.
Booker is certainly right to be angry, and it’s been a while since an All-Star snub raised this level of frustration in the sport. Whatever the reason is, Booker should be in Chicago in mid-February. It’s bizarre that he isn’t, but it could be used as motivation going forward.
The 2020 NBA All-Star teams were finalized and announced on Thursday, and Devin Booker was widely regarded as the biggest snub. The Phoenix Suns definitely feel that way.
Suns general manager James Jones issued a brief statement in response to Booker’s snub.
“I’ve played with and against multiple All-Stars in this league and Devin Booker is undoubtedly an NBA All Star,” Jones said in his statement.
He is right; Booker should be an All-Star.
Booker is averaging 27.1 points and 6.4 assists per game on 51 percent shooting. No player who has put up the kind of season Booker is has ever previously been snubbed.
It’s very easy to complain about a snub, but what’s more difficult — and necessary — is sharing who the snub should have replaced. Booker should have been selected ahead of Chris Paul and/or Russell Westbrook. He’s having a better season than either of them but being penalized because he was drafted by a team that has proven incapable of building a winning roster.
The full list of reserves includes:
West: Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, Nikola Jokic, Rudy Gobert, Brandon Ingram, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul
East: Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, Ben Simmons, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum, Bam Adebayo, Domantas Sabonis
Bill Simmons took some heat last week for his comments about Devin Booker not playing for Team USA in the FIBA Basketball World Cup, and the media personality is defending himself over it.
On September 3, the United States beat Turkey in overtime for their second win in Group E play (they went 3-0 in the group). As the game went to overtime, Simmons tweeted about how he felt Booker was missing out by not being part of the team.
The Phoenix Suns guard responded by adding in a comment over a different Simmons tweet about Jayson Tatum getting hurt.
Booker’s point was that by not participating, he was able to avoid an injury. Some in the basketball community gave Booker “internet points” for serving Simmons an “L” in their matter, but Simmons doesn’t understand the response.
Simmons addressed the Booker matter during an appearance on Zach Lowe’s podcast, “The Lowe Post Show.”
“Here’s why this is completely absurd,” Simmons began. “And I guess this is where we are in 2019 as sports media members and fans. No longer are we allowed to be critical of any NBA player in any way. That’s the new reality of the player empowerment era.
“When I say that I thought Devin Booker should have played Team USA, why am I saying that? Am I saying that to be a d–k? Am I saying that to take a drive-by shot at him? No. I’m saying it because I think he’s really talented. And here’s his career so far: he played at the University of Kentucky for one year and they made the Final Four. That was the most important games he’s ever played in because he goes to Phoenix and he’s on lottery teams for four years. They won 17 games last year. He’s never played in a meaningful professional basketball game in his life. And I find it hard to believe that it wouldn’t make him better to play on Team USA and to have (Gregg) Popovich and Steve Kerr and all these coaches … the highlights of his career have been these meaningless scoring explosions.
“So here’s the thing: I think it would really help him career-wise to be in a situation where he’s in China, in a scary arena, with different rules, with some real adversity. … you can’t tell me it’s not helpful to be in games like that,” Simmons said.
“Me talking about this — I’m not throwing grenades at this dude. I’m disappointed that people don’t care about this more.”
While many folks online find it amusing to pile on someone — like Simmons in this case — we agree with The Ringer founder. Every point he makes is lucid and it’s hard to disagree with his argument. Booker is the same guy who complained about getting double-teamed in a pickup game, so maybe he just doesn’t like being challenged.
Devin Booker is hoping to finally lead the Phoenix Suns to the playoffs in his fifth NBA season next year, but he is apparently quite particular about when he wants to work on going against double teams.
Booker took part in a pickup game recently that was organized by NBA trainer Chris Johnson and included Ben Simmons, Joakim Noah and other players. At one point, Booker made it no secret that he was frustrated two defenders double teamed him in the corner. He said he has to deal with that all season and would rather “work on our game.”
If Booker faces double teams all season, wouldn’t it benefit him to practice against it as much as possible? It’s a bit surprising a guy who claims to have the Mamba mentality would approach a pickup game that way.
Booker averaged 26.6 points per game last season and has become one of the best scorers in the NBA, but the Suns have not been to the postseason in a decade now. He should be doing everything possible to improve his game, and that includes working on beating double teams.