Devin Booker has accomplished quite a bit in his young NBA career. On Monday, the Suns’ guard turned 21. It is incredible what Booker has done in his young NBA career already.
In his rookie season, Booker scored his 1,000th career point at the fourth youngest age behind just Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Booker also became the second teen to record back-to-back 30-point games along with James. He also became the sixth teenager to top 1,000 career points along with Bryant, James, Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard. Booker finished his rookie campaign with 1,048 points.
Booker continued to dominate in his second season. He had a stretch of 16 straight games where he scored at least 20 points. He became the youngest player in NBA history to accomplish that, passing James.
Who could forget his 70-point performance against the Celtics? Booker set the franchise record for points in a game while shooting 52.5 percent from the field. He also became the sixth player in NBA history to score at least 70 points in a game. It also made him the third youngest player to score at least 50 points in a game behind just James and Brandon Jennings.
How about the 28 points he scored in the fourth quarter against the Mavericks? Booker finished the night with 39 points and set the franchise-record for most points in the fourth quarter.
By the end of the season, Booker finished with three quarters of at least 27 points, while the rest of the NBA only came up with two. That made him the first player since Bryant in 2005-06 to do so.
Booker is continuing his record-setting play this season as well. In his last game Saturday before turning 21, he scored 34 points. That was his 21st career 30-point game, which is the third most in NBA history before turning 21, behind just James and Durant.
Another impressive accomplishment by Booker is that his 2,897 career points are the fourth most for a player before turning 21. Only James, Durant and Anthony had more. Bryant comes in fifth with 2,755. Mind you Bryant came into the league out of high school and played 40 more games than Booker before turning 21.
Now don’t think I’m saying Devin Booker is going to be better than Kobe Bryant. Bryant is an all-time great, but that is what makes Booker’s accomplishment so incredible.
This guy is a star in the making. He is in good company with all of his records and accomplishments so far.
Why doesn’t Booker get more credit?
There is one thing about some of these records though that puts a knock on Booker. The 70-point game, the 28-point fourth quarter and the 21st career 30-point game were all in losing efforts.
In case you haven’t noticed, the Suns are one of the NBA’s biggest laughing stocks. They reinforced this reputation by firing their head coach Earl Watson after just three games this season. Watson was the team’s interim coach last year, and Phoenix decided to keep him on and sign him to a three-year deal. After losing the first three games this season, the Suns decided to give up on Watson.
Besides the coaching situation, the Suns also lack experience. The Suns are the youngest team in the NBA with an average age of 24.5, including six players 21 or younger. Even Watson, at the time of his promotion to head coach, was the second youngest head coach in the NBA.
There is also the Eric Bledsoe drama. The team’s starting point guard apparently tweeted that he doesn’t want to be with the team anymore. Since the Tweet, Bledsoe has not played in a game since.
Defense is also one of Phoenix’s struggles, as they have ranked 28th, 30th and 29th in all three of Booker’s seasons. You aren’t going to win too many games with numbers like that.
The Suns currently sit at 2-4. These losing ways are a big reason Booker is overlooked. One of the games most dominant scorers is on one of the worst teams. The situation the Suns are in would be difficult for even LeBron James to fix, much less Booker.
Playing in the Western Conference also doesn’t help. With so many great teams like the Warriors, Rockets and Spurs and star players like James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry and Durant, players like Booker tend to get less attention.
Why talk about a 21-year-old kid from one of the league’s worst teams when Harden and Westbrook were putting up triple-doubles almost every night last season? If Booker was in the East, he’d definitely get more recognition and would be one of the conferences top players along with James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kyrie Irving and John Wall.
How good will Booker be?
What can we expect from Booker in the future? You can bet he is going to continue dominating on the offensive end of the floor. According to the numbers, Booker should end up being on the same level as James, Durant, Anthony and Bryant.
The Suns offense only will help Booker, as the Suns have a reputation for lighting up the scoreboard that goes back to when Steve Nash was running the team. If Bledsoe ends up getting traded, that will only give Booker more opportunities to put up points as the clear go-to guy on the team.
This kid has a bright future, and I can’t wait to see how his career plays out. Keep an eye on him, and don’t let the Suns atrociousness distract you from his performance and success.
This team is still young. Maybe things will begin to turnaround for Phoenix once players like Josh Jackson, Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender spend a few more seasons in the NBA.
Could this be “The Process” 2.0? Only time will tell, but for now, Booker is one of the league’s premiere players whose limit is higher than the sky.
Featured image by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images
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