You would think after all their troubles with brother pairings the last few seasons, the Phoenix Suns would avoid setting themselves up for another failure so soon.
After an exciting 2013-14 season, the Suns doubled down on a pair of Morrii and a pair of Dragii to extend the good-time family-like feelings, but both pairings went quickly down in flames and nearly dragged the franchise along with it.
Marcus and Markieff Morris, who are still battling in court over their alleged assault by the way, self-destructed in a way that reads more like a movie script than real life when you look back on it.
Zoran and Goran Dragic was a failed pairing as well. The Suns might have hoped that signing NBA-fringe talent Zoran would help Goran want to stay long-term in Phoenix, but instead Goran immediately distanced himself from the signing and ultimately still demanded out of town anyway. Zoran rode benches for three NBA teams over the next year before returning to Europe.
Now, the Suns have decided to roll their familial dice yet again.
Do we call them the Bookii?
While rising star Devin Booker does not have any NBA-talented brothers (phew!), the Suns went out an drafted his best friend, Tyler Ulis, and now apparently have created a double-Booker pairing for training camp.
Askia Booker expected to join Suns training— Sportando (@Sportando) August 17, 2016
Thankfully, there is no familial relation between Askia and Devin. But you can understand if fans are skeptical of the Suns research in this area.
Askia Booker led the Suns to believe he's related to Devin in some way, and that's how he got signed, right?— Ray Hrovat (@EastBayRaymundo) July 9, 2016
And at least we should be thankful that the Suns didn’t sign the “other” Devin Booker to confuse us even further.
As it is, the Suns will another surname pairing at least in the early going. If Askia makes it through training camp and gets a uniform for preseason or even regular season games, the Suns will have to modify Devin’s jersey to differentiate him from the other Booker.
Askia Booker has been trying to make the Suns for the past year. He’s spent time with the Bakersfield Jam, and he played for the Summer Suns last month.
Summer League Askia with 19 points for the Summer Suns against the Timberwolves:
And now Askia with 31 points for the Jam last spring:
The 6’2” scoring guard played okay for the Jam last year, scoring almost 14 points and dishing 3.5 assists in 20 minutes per game, after graduating from Colorado. Askia topped out at 17.2 points and 3.2 assists per game for the Buffaloes in 2014-15.
Over the past year, Booker appears to have made a bit of progress on his game.
In summer league, he barely played the first four games before getting 20+ minutes per game in the “playoffs”. His best SL game was the Wolves contest, highlighted in the above youtube video.
The likeliest reason for this signing is so the Suns can make Askia a designated player for the Northern Arizona Suns (NAZ), the D-League affiliate in Prescott formerly located in Bakersfield, after cutting him during preseason.
Askia is likely the first of a handful of make-good contract signings for training camp that starts in just over a month, though it’s not likely many more will come from the Suns summer league entry.
Standout Troy Williams has already earned a partially-guaranteed contract with Memphis, and shooter Kyle Kuric has re-signed with Gran Canaria overseas.
Alec Brown, a veteran a three Summer Suns entries and two forgettable D-League seasons, is still available and likely to spend him in Prescott. Many of you who still have a soft spot for the 7’1” stretch five might kick yourselves over missing out on this sweet signed jersey...
Unfortunately its no longer available, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get one if you find Brown’s contact info somewhere.
Look for the Suns to bring a few others to training camp to compete for spots on the D-League team, but don’t expect any big names. With the Suns having so many players under guaranteed contract already for the 2016-17 season, including three rookies, there’s no room at Talking Stick Resort Arena for fringe NBA guys who want to make an NBA roster.