The star predictions keep coming in for Phoenix Suns teenager Devin Booker, this time by the game’s greatest player of this millenium, LeBron James.
Previously, the 19-year old Booker has been heavily praised as having a great future by All-Stars Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins, to name a few.
Now it’s 4-time League and current NBA Champion MVP LeBron James’ turn.
James said those words on his podcast debut on his new Uninterrupted network, on the Open Run podcast.
At one point in the podcast, LBJ was asked to name an up and coming player and he immediately went to young Booker.
Marolachakis: “Favorite, or like, to your eyes, most promising young gun in the league?”
Williams: “Unsigned hype.”
James: “That no one knows about? You know, what? I’m going to be honest. If it’s someone who is under the radar right now that I believe is going to be a really, really, really good, all-star player in the league – it’s Devin Booker from the Phoenix Suns.”
Stefan: “Yes, yes, a lot of chatter.”
Williams: “I like that. I like that.”
The podcast - linked above - is quite long and the Booker comments were made more than an hour into it. The other participants were actor Jesse Williams and writer Stefan Marolachakis.
Those are strong words from James, who you might remember in recent years had mentioned Eric Bledsoe as an up and coming star. But Bledsoe was/is a client of James’ agent and business partner Rich Paul of Klutch Sports and Bledsoe was angling first for a starting gig and then for a maximum level contract extension. By contrast, Booker has no financial relationship with James and is three years away from restricted free agency anyway.
The words are especially notable that James could have named anyone in the league in answer to that question.
The same can be said for Jimmy Butler, who came up with Booker when asked a similar question about an unknown player in the league (ie. not Karl-Anthony Towns) on podcast with The Ringer.
"I'll tell you one player I do like,” Butler said. “Devin Booker. I like that kid. He's young, he can really shoot it. He can get to the rim. He can play."
Multi-time All-Star and former Finals MVP Dwyane Wade gave a similar compliment to Booker recently.
Wade’s public praise of Booker began this spring after Booker poured in 34 points in a loss to Miami after scoring 18 in their first meeting.
"I was impressed with him the first time we played him, and I'm very impressed tonight... If he continues taking steps, he's going to be very, very good," Wade said. "I like him. I like him a lot."
And after Booker participated on the US Men’s Select Team that warmed up the US Olympic team in July, one of the players that Booker most favorably compares spent a few minutes gushing over him.
“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... He’s got a very high ceiling. It still baffles me he’s only 19 right? That’s unbelievable, man.”
DeMarcus Cousins and Greg Popovich praised Booker as well, in this video.
Get used to it, Suns fans.
You’re probably skeptical because the Suns have not discovered a new All-Star since Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion more than a decade and a half ago.
But all this praise doesn’t come lightly. James could have named anyone in the league when he was asked that question. The same can be said for Jimmy Butler. And when you add in the superlatives heaped on Booker when asked directly about him, you have to recognize the pattern of respect that Booker has earned already.
And Booker is still a teenager until game three of his second NBA season.