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If You’re Ready and You Know It...

Is confidence enough to convince Phoenix Suns’ fans that Devin Booker is ready to be an NBA leader?

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Phoenix Suns Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re ready and you know it... your name is probably Devin Booker.

At least, it is if you are a Phoenix Suns’ player with a five-year max extension intending to build hope for Suns’ fans all over the world from the bottom up. Booker was quoted when he joined “Reiter’s Block” on CBS Sports as saying,

“It’s winning time,”

We have heard this one before, and guess what?

It wasn’t. (“Winning time,” that is.)

But! Devin Booker was also quoted telling Reiter’s Block all about how he is ready to be a leader this year and that he is the guy for the job.

“With that contract, I felt that pressure to succeed for the city and the franchise, they took a chance on me to be that guy, I know it comes with a lot of leadership and responsibility, but I think I’m built for it. I’m looking forward to next year a lot, with the additions to the team, we’re in much better shape to have a much better season.”

Is Booker really ready to be a leader? He apparently feels quite confident about it, and confidence can take a person pretty far when it comes to being successful, but do we trust these words when so many actions (pretty much all of last season) have contradicted Booker’s newfound state of mind?

Let’s break it down...

What qualities demonstrate ‘leadership’?

After a few internet searches, I found some lists of qualities which generally included the following amalgamation of attributes:

  • Honesty
  • Confidence
  • Inspiring (to others)
  • Commitment
  • Communication
  • Decision Making
  • Accountability
  • Delegation
  • Creativity/Innovation
  • Empathy
  • Courage
  • Awareness (attention-to-detail)

What has Booker done to demonstrate his affinity toward leadership?

Not just any leadership, either, but the kind of leadership necessary to lift the Phoenix Suns out of a hole in the ground and put them back in the sky?

Maybe it’s not an action as much as it is the epiphany he apparently had on CBS Sports?

“We’re in the best shape we’ve been in since I’ve been a part of the franchise. With the trades we’ve made, and with Deandre. He had an unbelievable Summer League, playing the right way, not forcing it, was still dominating on both sides of the floor. He’ll be the down-force threat we need to open up space for everybody else.”

Did you catch that? “He’ll be the down-force threat we need to open up space for everybody else.” That is someone who is looking at the whole and not just the details; it sounds like someone who has grown into his big-boy contract. It even sounds like someone who is ready to use strategy to build and create a supportive team. Does that sound like someone thinking down an innovative path?

  • Well we know we can check “confidence” off the list of required qualities for Booker, and based on the recent comments, he is clearly ready to communicate his ideas, what about some of the others?
  • He signed a new contract, which shows dedication and commitment, albeit in conjunction with other beneficial motivations. He chose to dedicate himself to a losing team. Those are both leadership qualities.
  • We witnessed Booker’s honesty this summer when he expressed his frustration over how the communication was handled regarding the release of his friend, Tyler Ulis, from the Phoenix Suns.
  • He was just quoted using his new teammate, Deandre Ayton’s, skills to enhance opportunity to improve as a team. If that’s not empowering others by delegating responsibility and working together, it certainly demonstrates that he is taking initiative, which often requires creativity.
  • It takes a brave person to walk on the court after each ugly defeat from last season. Continuing to get up is absolutely courageous.

Is he accountable? Will he get lost in the details or ignore the big picture? Does he take too much credit? Can he make strong decisions? Will he inspire change? And will they be the right changes that need to be made? Is he empathetic? That’s an interesting thought; are young celebrities empathetic? And if they are, how do we know? That’s a hard one...

Conclusion:

Based on our cursory analysis, we can conclude Booker has newfound confidence in his ability to lead, and that is an important step in the right direction. He has also demonstrated about half of the leadership qualities in this example. Are there situations in which he didn’t do so well? I’m sure there are. Time and opportunity will tell. It will be fascinating to watch Booker’s leadership skills grow and mature in the upcoming season, and to see their impact on his teammates.

Does this mean the Phoenix Suns will dominate this year?

Probably not. Unfortunately. The likelihood that we will get our butts handed to us is still strong. But it’s enlightening to see that glimmer of sunshine on the horizon! The one that means at least those butts are getting in gear now; at least the game will be a little bit tougher, a little bit faster, and a little more fun.

If you’re ready any you know it.... applaud! The sun is rising on the start of a new season!

(You thought I was gonna say “clap your hands...” Didn’t ya?)

“First we gonna rock, then we gonna roll... [Phoeni....] X Gon’ give it to ya!