While several Top-5 picks leave us wondering whether they will ever become legitimate NBA starters, the Phoenix Suns can be excited about former 13th overall pick Devin Booker.
We may — probably, most likely, most assuredly — never see All-Star votes next to the names of Alex Len (5th), Dragan Bender (4th) or Marquese Chriss (8th).
But we won’t have to wait much longer we see votes next to Devin Booker’s name.
Want to talk volume? After he dropped 38 on the league’s #1 defense on Saturday, only LeBron James (10) has more 30-point games this season than Booker (9).
Want to talk efficiency? Booker leads all guards 30-point games while shooting better than 50% from the field (6).
Want to talk sharing the ball? No guard has more games with 4+ assists (4) while scoring 30+ this season.
"I'll tell you right now, it's a tough position to be in," Irving said. "You look back at some of the great players that have been on a similar journey, and a lot of the attention, a lot of the scrutiny that comes with it, because every loss that comes at a fault is yours. Everyone's going to pinpoint, whether it be your defense, whether it be the shots that your taking, whether it be a pass that you're not making, they'll find something that's not good enough.”
Irving would know. He was the best player on an awful Cavaliers team his first few years in the league before they lucked into getting LeBron back. Since LeBron came back, he’s been the lead guard on Eastern Conference Champs for three years in a row and now might continue that streak with #1 seeded Boston.
"I feel like he's doing an incredible job of just staying the course. He has it. He already has that mentality of being a killer. He already has the tools, he's already a great player in this league already and he's going to continue to showcase that. Now it's just getting the right pieces around him in order to be at a high level to showcase that. Because not only can he score, he can rebound, he can pass. You're seeing it. When he goes against the high-level teams, you can see that he raises his game to another level. And that's a tell-tale signs of a great player in that making have that consistency for years to come.
"Obviously, you guys can see that I'm a big fan. I've been watching him for awhile. You just want him to stay as healthy as he can, because a situation like that, as a competitor, you want to play 48 minutes a game. You go on a two-game losing streak, three-game losing streak, 38 points is not enough and it eats at you. It just comes with maturity in this league and he'll continue to get better."
Scoring 38 against the Celtics one game after scoring 70 against them is extremely rare — only Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor have ever followed up a 70-point game with more than 32 the next time they played each other.