Former Phoenix Suns Scout Explains Why Devin Booker Dropped to 13th in 2015 NBA Draft

Published 03/07/2021, 6:00 AM EST
Dec 18, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) hangs from the rim after slam dunking the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during a preseason game at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Phoenix Suns can consider themselves very lucky. A certain 18-year basketball prodigy landed in their lap around six years ago, and now that kid is wreaking havoc in the NBA.

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That, of course, is none other than Devin Booker, whom they selected with their 13th pick in the loaded draft class of 2015. Unsurprisingly, the man behind the steal of that night, Antonio Williams, deserves a lot of credit. But what are some of the things which he caught his eye when watching Booker play ball?

Dec 23, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) smiles against the Dallas Mavericks in the first half at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

“When I was working in college basketball in Nike, I saw Devin a lot. I saw a lot of things that I liked. Of course, I saw the skills standpoint, from what he could do from a skills perspective,” said Williams.

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Devin played 38 games from the bench for Kentucky in his freshman year. He averaged 10 points per game in 21.5 minutes of on-court action. So, the scouts simply hadn’t seen enough of him to take a punt. Plus, he wasn’t a physical specimen that they could bank on either.

Which is the primary reason why he fell so low in a draft class which also included the likes of Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis, D’Angelo Russell, and Myles Turner.

“Number 1, he didn’t start a game at Kentucky. He came off the bench, but some underrated aspects of Devin Booker’s game – he’s more athletic than people think he is, he’s tougher than people think he is,” said Williams.

Inherent love of basketball enticed Phoenix Suns to select Devin Booker

Booker hasn’t had the rub of the green when it comes to garnering respect in the NBA. Despite his high numbers, he’s regularly overlooked for other guards in the league. Naturally, there are some underrated elements of his game that are carrying him to NBA superstardom –

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“When we look at the upside, we always attribute it to physical things. But there are some other underrated elements of upside as well. And one of them is inherently loving basketball… So, those are the underrated aspects of Devin’s game. And those are the things that have made him a superstar.”

Feb 26, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) shoots against Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) during the first half of an NBA game at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Although he’s missing out on the 2021 NBA All-Star Game with a sprained knee, we hope that there are many more to come with the Suns.

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DIVE DEEPER

Did DeMar DeRozan, Brandon Ingram Deserve To Replace Devin Booker Over Mike Conley For 2021 NBA All-Star Game?

2 months ago

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Bharat Aggarwal

692 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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