School: University of Kentucky
Position: Shooting Guard
Date of Birth: 10/30/1996
Draft Range: SBNation - 13, Paul Coro, AZCentral.com - 13, Draft Express - 12, NBADraft.net - 10, ESPN - 9, HoopsHype - 13
Devin Booker Stats" data-chorus-asset-id="3755074" />
Stats fron DraftExpress.com
Height: 6' 4.5" without shoes, 6' 5.75" with shoes
Weight: 206 pounds
Wingspan: 6' 8.25"
Standing Reach: 8' 6.5"
Maximum Vertical Leap: 34.5"
Lane Agility: 10.22 seconds
3/4 Court Sprint: 3.28 seconds
Devin Booker is a lights out shooter with a great feel for the game. At 18 years old, he's the youngest player in this year's draft. Despite his youth, he has an NBA ready shooting stroke that will make him a sure-fire lottery pick despite a lack of explosive athleticism or all-around game. You can read Bryan Gibberman's thoughts on him here, and Dave King's coverage of his Phoenix Suns' workout here.
Right now, Booker is a one-trick pony on the offensive end. Fortunately, it is a damn fine trick. In college, he was a 41.1% 3-point shooter and 47.0% from the field overall. He has a quick and high release point that, coupled with his 6'6" frame, makes his jumpers difficult to defend. His shooting mechanics are near flawless. In the video below, note how he is always on balance when he takes a shot whether off the dribble or on a catch and shoot. He also demonstrates high basketball IQ in transition and off the ball, knowing when to give up the ball, cut, and/or get to his spot.
The flipside is that jumpshot is all he has going for him on the offensive end. His ball-handling ability is questionable. While he allayed some concerns about his athleticism by posting the fastest lane agility drill time at the NBA combine, he lacks the quick first step to get past his man or explosiveness to get to the rim. It's possible he develops some craftiness or other tools given his age, but right now his offense is all jumpshot all the time.
While he may lack the speed to cover point guards or the length to cover small forwards regularly, he projects to be an at least an average defender at his position. That high basketball IQ mentioned above extends to the defensive end as well. This is apparent in his use of solid technique and body position to keep his man in front of him. He's also tenacious at fighting through and over screens.
Unfortunately, that lack of athleticism, like the high IQ, also follows him to the defensive end. His rebound, steal and block numbers are all below average for a player his size. His lack of extraordinary length or athleticism are also limiting factors. He is definitely a 3 man, but may not have the tools to become a D man as well.
Overall and Fit for the Suns
I can see how Devin Booker might be a tempting pick for Phoenix at 13. The Suns are badly in need of some consistent outside shooting and Booker would provide that in spades. He'd be cheaper than Gerald Green* and potentially less streaky. And given the knuckleheadery that plagued Phoenix last season, another high IQ player would be a welcome addition to the bench. He's also a guard from Kentucky and they are rapidly overtaking "lesser brother" as Phoenix's trophy acquisition of choice.
However, he is 18 years old and the Suns are swimming in shooting guards, though none of them have actually been shooting that well of late. If the Suns take Booker, it will likely be part of a larger plan to make over the backcourt. If he showed a little more promise on the defensive end, then I could see the Suns taking him. But then he also probably wouldn't be available at 13. Despite the fact that several mock drafts have Phoenix taking Devin Booker, I think Phoenix goes in another direction. But, man, does he have a sweet shot!
*I feel bad. I'm pretty sure this is the 3rd time in a row poor Gerald had been mentioned unflatteringly in a draft preview.