Devin Booker’s name immediately came to mind when the NBA confirmed that it will be handing out special awards for games played through July 30 to August 14 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
The Phoenix Suns superstar is no doubt the “bubble MVP” after tallying 30.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 6.0 assists in eight games.
Sure, Damian Lillard and TJ Warren all played superb basketball inside the bubble, but none of those guys led their team to an undefeated 8-0 record.
Sadly, we won’t see more of Devin Booker this season after the Suns were officially knocked off from playoff contention in the West.
Booker’s herculean effort for the Suns went for naught, as the Portland Trailblazers and the Memphis Grizzlies earned that playoff play-in berths.
But the good news is, D-Book is just 23 years old. He still has a lot of games left to be played in his promising career.
Even though he is still considered one of the younger players today’s NBA, it feels like Booker has already been around for ages. He first came in as an unassuming, barely 18-year-old kid from Kentucky when the Suns drafted him 13th overall in 2015.
In fact, some rookies in 2016 and 2017 came in older than Booker. The 6-foot-6 marksman, however, did not play like a neophyte in his first year, norming 13.8 points on 42.3 percent FG shooting and 34.3 percent clip from three.
Now, he’s considered in the conversation of the best shooting guards in the league and is arguably already a top-10 player for some pundits.
Apart from possibly taking home the first-ever bubble MVP plum, it seems like Booker is also on course to win that legitimate MVP hardware sometime in the near future.
While the Suns had losing records in Booker’s first five seasons, it wasn’t entirely his fault. The young marksman has added a few new wrinkles to his game each year, notching career averages of 22.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 4.7 assists in 342 games so far.
As good as he is now, Booker has yet to hit his prime. Imagine how terrifying he’ll be for the other 29 teams once he gets some valuable playoff experience.
From a physical and skill standpoint, Booker has all the right tools to be the best player in the league.
At 6-foot-6, the one-time All-Star has the perfect size for his position and has already shown some great footwork. Booker also possesses that rare “clutch-gene” paired with an unwavering spirit to take those big shots.
All those traits do sound familiar since it also describes All-Time greats and former MVPs Michael Jordan and the late Kobe Bryant.
Of course, it’s quite early to toot Booker’s horn just yet and compare him to these two GOATS. After all, he has to lead a team to the playoffs first before being recognized as “MVP-worthy”.
And to state the obvious, Booker does have those flamethrowers he calls hands. The Suns’ guard is considered one of the purest shooters in today’s game, while also displaying seemingly unlimited range.
Let’s not forget he once casually dropped 70 points against the Boston Celtics back in 2017. That’s the league’s highest-scoring output since Kobe Bryant’s historic 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors back in 2006.
Barring any significant setbacks, Booker will have more chances to eclipse that scoring record in the upcoming years. His decision-making has also taken strides since his rookie year, especially now that he has learned to trust his teammates more. However, his defense must also catch-up to his offensive brilliance to truly be regarded as a complete player.
Devin Booker has all the makings of an elite superstar, but he certainly needs to lead his team to new heights to be included in that prestigious MVP club. Judging by how the Suns closed out the 2019-20 campaign, they do have what it takes to be a top-team league in this league.