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NBA Draft Combine Measurements
Why You Might Know Him
By Taylor C. Snow
Devin Booker thoroughly impressed at the Draft Combine, with the fastest lane agility (10.27 seconds) and shuttle run (2.75) times of the 45-plus participants. He also left his mark on the court as Kentucky’s top producer off the bench this past season. He was the third-highest scorer on the Wildcats and their most reliable 3-point shooter. Kentucky nearly ran the table last season, but Booker did not leave the program empty-handed, as he was named the SEC Sixth Man of the Year.
There may be no better shooter in this year’s Draft than Kentucky’s Devin Booker. Booker, who has prototypical shooting guard size, can flat-out put the ball through the basket, and he can do so via a variety of shots. He’s more than capable of making pull-up jumpers, spot-up jumpers and catch-and-shoot jumpers. He’s got a quick release and some of the best jump-shot mechanics around. He’s always square to the basket and repeats the same motion every time. Think of how Ray Allen used to be consistent in those areas. Booker is also a good finisher around the basket, and he’s extremely poised. He always plays under control and takes what the defense gives him. I love the way he plays off of the ball. He knows how to use screens and put his defender in a tough spot. Conversely, his basketball IQ keeps him out of questionable situations. Couple those smarts with his handle, and you’ve got a guy who can run a fast break for you. There just aren’t a whole lot of holes in his offensive game. Defensively, Booker shows good but not great agility. He needs to add strength to be able to absorb screens and fight through them. He really struggles to fight through screens and he’s going to deal with plenty of those every night in the NBA. Booker tends to get his feet turned when popping out to an offensive player and that makes him susceptible to the dribble-drive. He also seems to struggle with communication. He’s not a top-flight athlete, but he’s a good enough athlete to compete at the defensive end. I think good coaching – if he’s willing to listen – will help him improve greatly on defense. He has some work to do, but he’s a guy who can come in and make shots.
By Taylor C. Snow
Booker was born, on Oct. 20, 1996 in Grand Rapids, Mich., while his father Melvin was preparing for his second, and final, NBA season. Melvin then pursued a professional basketball career overseas, while his wife, Veronica Gutierrez, raised Devin. That year, the then-sophomore moved to his father’s home in Moss Point, Miss., and enrolled at Moss Point High School, where Melvin had taken an assistant coaching position. During his junior season, Booker averaged 29.7 points, eight rebounds and four assists per game, and won the Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year award. He followed that up with a 30.9 point-per-game average his senior year. He only attended Moss Point for three years, he left as the program’s all-time leading scorer (2,518 points). Booker was heavily recruited by Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State and his father’s alma mater, Missouri; he ultimately chose to play for John Calipari’s juggernaut in Lexington. This past season, Booker was a key cog off the bench for the Wildcats and was named SEC Sixth Man of the Year. He averaged 10 PPG and sunk the second most 3-pointers on the team (58). Draft hopeful Aaron Harrison netted one more trey, but Booker attempted 46 fewer, posting an admirable 41.1 percentage from 3-point land. Booker was one of seven Kentucky players to declare for the NBA Draft on April 9.