NBA – How Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns) Became A Real NBA Boss

No one could foresee the sudden and refreshing rise of the Phoenix Suns. Not even the franchise itself. Who could have really imagined that this team that finished the season with 19 poor wins in 2019 would play the Conference finals in 2021? Who could have imagined that she would even be in a position to win the first title in her history after years of famine and humiliation? Impossible. Because the Suns had not played in the playoffs since 2010. And upon their return, 11 years later, they returned to the same stage as Steve Nash and his comrades at the time: in the fight with a formation of Los Angeles for a place in the final. Unbelievable. Even after the great performances in the bubble and even after the arrival of Chris Paul, (very) few saw Phoenix go so high this season.

Because this organization has been stuck in the open for so long. Led by Robert Sarver, a terribly egotistical owner, perhaps even more harmful to his team than James Dolan (Knicks). A billionaire who wants to see what is happening and who once brought goats (yes, yes) into his GM’s office to make him understand that he was looking for a GOAT (Greatest Of All Time, the greatest of all time in French). As a result, poor Ryan McDonough found his space ransacked with excrement everywhere. During those 11 disastrous seasons, the Suns have experienced eight different coaches. They have won less than 30 matches on five occasions. They have been destroyed, rebuilt, destroyed and then rebuilt in vain. It is in this quagmire, that Devin Booker landed in 2015. It is in this doldrums that he dragged since, trying as best he can to stand out and make his way among the greatest players in the league . With a leitmotif “become legendary“inscribed by Kobe Bryant on a pair of autographed shoes offered to him by the” Black Mamba “after one of their first duels. Today, while the Suns are seven victories from the coronation, the young man holds his revenge .

Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns) vs. Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers)

Credit: Getty Images

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I have waited for this moment for so long. A lot of people told me that I had never played an important game and that I was not ready for it. It’s time to prove they were wrong“, confided the person concerned after eliminating the Lakers, defending champions, in the first round. He actually discovered the playoffs. But it is to wonder if this is really the case, as he masters his subject. Booker waited. long and now he’s making sure it’s been worth it to wear ridiculous Suns since the start of his career. Because even though he quickly asserted himself as a top scorer in the NBA, the player s ‘is seen sticking a label of prolific attacker but which does not impact the game of his team. A player who scores but who does not win. With a point of 70 units in a … defeat, of course Statistics – 23 career points already – empty A bit like the calories brought by alcohol: useless.

It is a finding that is perhaps a little too hasty each time a rising star flares up in a losing team. Especially at the very beginning of her career, when she is still in the learning phase. Exceptions like Luka Doncic, who immediately qualify their franchise in the playoffs, are, by definition, very rare. Because it already depends on the situation of the team in which the player in question finds himself. There, Devin Booker could hardly do worse. Then it obviously takes time. “To become legendary, you must also grow as a man“, LeBron James recalled after giving his jersey to his executioner a few weeks ago.

Devin Booker and Chris Paul

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Devin Booker, inspired by Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul

Book ‘came to the pros at 19. He will be celebrating his 25th birthday next October. He still has a lot of time ahead of him… but he has also matured since his first steps in the league. Somehow he became a man. And this maturity is felt in his game. He is more and more sure of his strength and he no longer tries to impose it without thinking. He still likes to score. But he understands better and better when he really has to. It is as if the pace of the matches has slowed down and he can now read what is happening in advance. He lets the game come to him. “There are guys who just take the ball and go score. I have the feeling that Devin does it while respecting our systems and the way we play“, declared Monty Williams, the coach, after Match 1 won against the Clippers on Sunday night. By agreeing to be part of a playing philosophy, he has a much greater impact on his team’s results. Because he allows his teammates to shine, to show off, to progress and bring danger while continuing to do what he does best: score.

Beyond that, he is a real hard worker who appreciates the effort. He does not rely on his talents or his achievements. Behind this ascent, there is work. Hours spent repeating the same gestures to be sure to be able to make the difference in a match. A professional ethic of which he is proud and which brings him closer to Bryant, his idol. Booker is also one of those who keep Kobe’s – and therefore Michael Jordan’s – legacy alive, namely mid-range shooting. This area proscribed by analytics. A flaw in the defenses, which let their opponents shoot easier at five meters, which he exploited night after night brilliantly. The Suns star’s body language is perfect. Own. Its mechanics and ease testify to its work in the field. And he finished off the Clippers like that throughout Game 1 to compile 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. The first triple-double of his career. By being involved in 43 of Phoenix’s last 50 points. A performance worthy of a superstar. Certainly not that of a player without impact.

The Suns won despite the absence of Chris Paul. But even the maestro’s forfeit doesn’t have to worry the Arizona franchise. Because his influence remains very strong, especially with his young disciple. Booker is not afraid to admit it: he is learning a lot alongside CP3. “I’ve watched him control the game since the start of the season and he never loses the ballHe points out. He watches and… he reproduces. His 11 assists are proof of that. Inspired by Bryant, inspired by Paul, the conditions just had to be right for him to finally take his team a step further. “He now has an outstanding tactician on the bench. And an experienced and very talented mentor by his side. The Suns are back. And with Devin Booker, they could stay on top for a while.”

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NBA – How Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns) Became A Real NBA Boss

Hank Gilbert