A year ago at this time, Devin Booker was the Mississippi State Gatorade Player of the Year. Three All-SEC accolades later, the young sharp shooter from the Kentucky Wildcats is working out with NBA teams leading up to the 2015 Draft.
Booker started his workouts with the Suns on Monday which could ultimately be his landing spot at 13th overall in the first round. The Suns are in need of a shooting specialist from the perimeter to play off the ball with their two point guard back court in Eric Bledsoe and restricted free agent Brandon Knight if the team brings him back.
It is a system and a situation that Booker is very interested in.
“Being a shooter thats what you want! Some shots,” said Booker after his workout. “A great backcourt with Eric, B-Knight and also Archie (Goodwin), it could be a great situation for me I feel like.”
What do all three of those players Booker mentions have in common. They all are also former Kentucky Wildcats. Ryan McDonogh since taking over for the Suns has added all three to the roster via trade or the draft. He may or may not be purposely creating somewhat of a pipeline from Kentucky to Phoenix.
“That’s not a bad thing,” said the Suns General Manager McDonough on Monday. “They have had a lot of success over the past couple of years. It’s not something obviously that we try to do, we try to get the best players from wherever they come from. But we’ve ended up with I guess three of them now and you know who knows. He’s not the only good player in the draft this year from UK obviously.”
Booker was named the 2015 SEC Sixth Man of the Year and named to the conference’s Second Team and freshman team after averaging 10 points, two rebounds and sinking 58 three point shots during his freshman season. He is one of the youngest players in this upcoming draft but does not look like it. McDonough mentions that he has size and strength that is beyond his age.
“He’s pretty strong,” McDonough explained. “He’s one of the younger guys in the draft at 18 years old but he’s got great looking technique, a beautiful looking stroke and good strength. Some of these guys you can tell will need to get in the weight room and add strength to make that more of a natural shot, he already has it at a young age and will be a matter of repetition.”
Booker spent time at the end of practice discussing his shot with the Shot Doctor himself, Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek.
“He was giving me a little shooting advice and you know, I take everything in especially from a coach like that,” mentioned Booker. “This has been a life long dream of mine so I am open to any information and anything that can help me.”
While adding size and a presence inside is one need that people believe the Suns should look to address via the draft, adding outside shooting from the wing spot with a more pure shooter than a P.J. Tucker or Marcus Morris has to be up there as well and Booker is arguably the best pure shooter in this Draft.
“That’s a need for us,” stated McDonough. “That doesn’t necessarily mean we will address just via the draft, we will look to address it in free agency or perhaps via trade as well. But it is important for sure.”