We all know him as the baby-faced looker from last year’s team who created a wave of car-lickers and gave us the “Wildcat Three-Point Gun Salute,” but as the youngest player in the NBA Devin Booker is continuing to play at level that defies his years.
After a few months of grabbing inconsistent minutes off of the Phoenix Sun’s bench, Booker stepped-up big time when former fellow Wildcat Eric Bledsoe suffered a season-ending knee injury.
From the beginning, Booker showed the world he could hold his own on a court against seasoned NBA stars, such as when he challenged LeBron James in the Sun’s first matchup against the Cavaliers in December. Booker threw a hard foul against James in transition, earning a derisive stare from the Cavalier’s star player for his efforts.
While other rookies struggle to adapt to the pace and intensity of the NBA, Booker has consistently shined. Not bad, for a 19-year-old who didn’t even play 25 minutes until after Christmas.
Booker is currently the highest-scoring rookie this season, an honor he shares only with former teammate and fellow rookie Karl-Anthony Towns.
Known as a sharp-shooter at Kentucky, Booker is still bringing in impressive stats while in the NBA. He is currently at an elite 42.3 percent for three-pointers and became the third-youngest player ever to score 30-plus points in a game. LeBron James at 18 and Kevin Durant at 19 are the only two players in the league to top him.
Eric Saar of Basketball Insiders, thinks it’s just the tip of the iceberg for Booker whom he calls “underrated” and thinks isn’t getting the recognition he deserves.
“He has arguably been the fourth-best rookie in this year’s rookie class. Clearly, Towns, New York Knicks sensation Kristaps Porzingis and Philadelphis 76s center Jahlil Okafor have had consistent roles and also great production. But after those three, one could make the cast that Booker is next in line,” Saar wrote yesterday.