Phoenix Suns forward josh jackson is coming off an up-and-down rookie season where he flourished and wilted at times, hoping to find his niche on the court. One he slowly navigated thanks to his star teammate Devin Booker.
Jackson started the season playing at power forward under former coach Earl Watson, who didn’t see a problem with playing a 200-pound rookie in a vulnerable position.
Quickly witnessing his first-ever NBA coach getting fired in the first week of the regular season, it was Booker, a third-year player in his own right, who was the calm in the midst of the storm — having been through three coaches in his first three seasons in the league.
“‘Book’ is the best player I ever played with at any level. A great leader. An ultimate scorer. Even a better teammate. He’s the guy,” said Jackson in the first entry of his diary in The Undefeated. “He wants to see his guys around him doing well, so he’s going to teach you. He’s going to talk to you. He’s gonna try to put you in positions that are best for you to be successful.”
“He looked out a lot for me last year when he was on the court. Even when he was on the bench he would be over there coaching me and telling me things that I should be out there doing. How to keep the ball protected. I got stripped a couple times and he’s telling me things like, ‘Keep the defender on the side of your body. Keep the ball on the other side.’ Book is a great teammate.”
Devin Booker has already shown early signs of leadership, taking on the playmaking responsibilities without a true starting point guard after the team traded the estranged Eric Bledsoe early in the season.
His exploits on the court along with the rapport with his teammates merited the five-year, $158 million extension the Suns doled out for him this summer, cementing his place as the cornerstone talent of this team.