Devin Booker is the Suns best hope and their biggest gamble.
He’s put up astronomical stats for his age, etched his name in the NBA record books several times and has been a consistent bright spot during the darkest period in Suns history.
But, he’s also never played on a team that has won more than 24 games in his four NBA seasons.
Its year five now for Booker. This summer has been a big one for the Suns from top to bottom. They reshaped their roster, made an impressive coaching hire and doubled down on their young core. The burden to deliver the Suns from NBA Bottom of the Standings Purgatory isn’t Booker’s alone but he does carry the most weight.
That’s what made his Team USA decision so odd.
First, he isn’t the only one to turn down Team USA. A lot of guys bailed on Team USA but currently the best guards are Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, Marcus Smart and Derrick White. Devin Booker would not only have elevated Team USA, he would have had a once in a career opportunity.
Booker has played for the following head coaches in his NBA career: Jeff Hornacek, Earl Watson, Jay Triano and Igor Kokoskov. By participating in Team USA, he would’ve been coached by Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr and Jay Wright.
He would’ve battled every day with some really good guards, including two in Mitchell and Smart who he’s constantly compared to.
For a young player who still faces questions about his defense and ability to win, being coached by three of the absolute best in the world while competing at a high level against two of his peers, should have been a no brainer.
Booker should’ve not only participated in Team USA, he should’ve volunteered to be Gregg Popovich’s roommate.
Instead, Booker is working out on his own being caught on video complaining about getting double teamed in a pick up game with other NBA players.
And others have noticed, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst recently said on the Bill Simmons Podcast that he is stunned Devin Booker isn’t on the Team USA roster. Simmons responded by saying that’s why he believes the jury is still out on Booker as a winning player.
Lots of NBA players choose to work out on their own and forgo the grind of travel of Team USA and the sacrifice of their down time from an otherwise grueling NBA season.
But Devin Booker isn’t any NBA player. He’s the Suns best hope and after this missed opportunity, he might be an even bigger gamble.