Devin Booker is the focus today.
Five years from now, I believe he could become the best player in this draft.
The 6-foot-6 shooting guard from the Kentucky Wildcats had a solid season as a freshman at UK. He has entered his name into the NBA draft pool, and will be an interesting prospect.
Here is what I think of him.
Booker will fly under the radar in this year’s draft, like when Klay Thompson went under the radar in the 2011 draft. I believe he might even be the steal of the draft, and has a great chance to become the best player in this draft a few years from now.
Booker reminds me a lot of Thompson.
If anyone has paid attention, and I’m sure most people did, Thompson had a breakout season and is now a star in the NBA.
I believe Booker could become the next Thompson.
He is 18-years old and won’t turn 19 until Oct. 30. In my opinion, that’s a plus because he plays very mature brand of basketball. Rarely he is out of control or in a rush. He is always smooth, calm, cool and collected.
He has a pretty average body type, like Thompson. He isn’t thin, but isn’t bulging with muscles, either. I don’t get too bent out of shape over body types in the NBA, unless I am talking about big men.
He has a very high release on his jumper and has length that should help him when it comes to playing defense in the NBA.
Like Thompson, Booker was born a shooter. I mentioned his high release, but he also has no wasted movement in his shot and is able to shooter over taller, lengthier defenders because of his high release. When he jumps he goes straight up and comes straight down. He doesn’t shift left or right, fall back or lean forward. He lands in nearly the same spot where he jumped.
He is able to come off screens, get his feet set quickly and shoot the ball. He doesn’t waste much, if any, time getting rid of the ball, either.
Being a good shooter, his off-the-dribble game is very good, and it’s an area where he could become even better with time. He is able to stop and elevate in a split-second, normally catching defenders off guard in the process.
Like Thompson, he isn’t overly athletic, but that doesn’t limit his ability to score in transition. DraftExpress did a good job in highlighting an underrated part of the game, and area where little emphasis is placed. He knows when to give-it-up-in-order-to-get-it-back on the break. He is a smart player because he doesn’t force the issue or make many bad plays. He does not over-dribble and rarely makes a poor pass.
The best thing about him is that he seems like a very low-maintenance player. Unlike a lot of top prospects, Booker doesn’t seem like the kid who can’t wait to indulge himself into the limelight. He seems like a player who goes about his business and wants to get better. In the NBA, low-maintenance players are the best because usually they always perform at a high level, their teammates enjoy playing with them and the coaches love working with them.
Teams don’t have to worry about this kid off the court because he doesn’t seem like he would associate with the wrong crowd.
Now, I’m not sure where he will go in the draft.
I have looked at several mock drafts and the consensus seems to be that he will go somewhere in the 12-19 range. Some mocks have him going to Oklahoma City. I do not want to see that. I believe he will be hidden on that team behind Kevin Durant, especially Russell Westbrook and Enes Kanter. However, the Thunder does need a reliable shooting guard because Dion Waiters is just too inconsistent and Jeremy Lamb has shown little improvement.
The Atlanta Hawks would be a superb fit. Kyle Korver is getting older and Mike Budenholzer enjoys playing a lot of players, and his offensive system allows his players to play to their strengths. Plus, the Hawks need shooting guard help. The way Budenholzer runs his offense combined with the unselfishness of Al Horford, Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague would be a tremendous fit for Booker. I believe Booker could see a fair-share of shots in that offense. Atlanta and Brooklyn have swapped picks in the draft.
I think Boston or Cleveland would also be intriguing situations. I think Cleveland has more of a need at shooting guard than does Boston. J.R. Smith continues to be a knucklehead and Iman Shumpert is, at best, a suitable role player. Booker could flourish playing with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. He could end up as the third-wheel because I don’t believe Kevin Love will be back with the team.
Like I mentioned earlier, I believe Booker has a high ceiling. I think he can become something like Thompson has in his time with Golden State.
At the very least, I could see Booker being like Danny Green. Don’t knock Green, though. The former second round pick has turned out to be a pretty good player for the San Antonio Spurs.
In conclusion, I like what Booker already has and what he can develop in to. He is a good shooter who will only get better. He is a smart player who makes the right play, is confident, and low-maintenance.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned into an All-Star in the next five years.