There’s no one for Suns fans to cheer on, and there hasn’t been since Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion donned the red, white and blue more than a decade ago.
Team USA is loaded with the best of the best in the NBA, and no Sun has been in that conversation for a long, long time. Even some of the league’s worst teams get bad enough and lucky enough to hit on a star player every decade.
You might say that the Suns haven’t been bad enough to get a high enough pick for that star, but that’s not entirely true. While Team USA is almost always loaded with #1 and #2 overall picks, this year’s team has several lower-picked players.
DeMarcus Cousins was drafted 5th by the Kings in 2010. Harrison Barnes 7th in 2012. DeMar DeRozan 9th in 2009. Paul George 10th in 2010. Klay Thompson 11th in 2011. Kyle Lowry 24th in 2006. Jimmy Butler 30th in 2011. Draymond Green 2nd round in 2012. DeAndre Jordan 2nd round in 2008. Lowry, Butler, Green and Jordan all went later than the Suns fave pick spot in the late lotto.
When will the Suns have another Team USA player?
Maybe they already do.
Thompson, the player to whom many fans compare Booker, was quite effusive about the teenager.
“He’s gonna be one of the best two guards in this league one day,” Thompson said. “He’s such a good shooter but he’s got a great floor game as well.”
Booker is not Klay Thompson. Thompson has a howitzer shooting motion, able to catch, set his feet and launch all in one motion before the defense can react. No one shoots as quickly and accurately as Thompson. Thompson is also a better defender, both on and off the ball.
However, Booker already has the makings of a better floor game, handle and passing ability than Thompson while also having that dead eye shooting touch that makes him so dangerous.
“He’s got a very high ceiling,” Thompson said. “It still baffles me he’s only 19 right? That’s unbelievable, man.”
Thompson isn’t the only one that loves Booker’s game. Coaches and other NBA stars rave about Booker, including Team USA guard Jimmy Butler and all-time great Dwyane Wade among others as Bright Side has shared over the past year.
DeMarcus Cousins and Gregg Popovich were especially complementary this past week as well. I’d share those quotes with you, but I can only find them on a social media aggregator site that takes credit for others’ reporting. My guess is Cousins and Popovich said it to NBATV reporters while covering Team USA basketball practices last week. They both basically echoed comments made by Thompson, Wade and Butler.
If Booker continues on this trajectory, he might be the Suns next participant on Team USA, playing for Popovich in 2020.