Devin Booker is a 6 foot 5 inch shooting guard out of the University of Kentucky. Coming out of high school, Booker was the 18th overall recruit in the country and the 3rd ranked shooting guard. Booker spent just one year at Kentucky and averaged 10 points on 47 percent shooting, including a 41 percent mark from behind the three point line. The stats are not amazing, but consider he did not start on the star-studded Kentucky team. Off the bench, he was the third leading scorer for the Wildcats team. The tough part for the Hawks is that Booker probably will not be available at the 15th pick, but he might be worth moving up to get.
His shots and minutes were limited due to the amount of talent on the Kentucky team and the “platoon” system John Calipari implemented, but in just 21 minutes a game he always managed to leave his mark. Like most great shooters, Booker tends to be streaky, but when he is hot it is a spectacle to watch. Several times during the year, the Wildcats turned to Booker to be their guy to get buckets. There was a period throughout January, in which Booker received 4 straight SEC Freshman of the Week honors. He is a terrific catch and shoot shooter and can shoot well off the dribble. The Hawks really struggled to score in the playoffs, and Booker could be another valuable asset in scoring points. He would also get the opportunity to have Kyle Korver as his mentor of sorts. Korver has made a live shooting the three point ball, and his value has been maximized as the member of the Hawks. I think this match is just as perfect for Booker as it is for the Hawks. Korver’s days are numbered as he turned 34 this season, but Booker could come in and start for the Hawks sooner rather than later.
It is obvious Booker can shoot the basketball, but he is no slouch in other aspects of his game. Callipari raved about the effort defensively and was even quoted saying, “You guys are all looking at him shooting the ball … and it’s good stuff … but defensively, I never thought he’d guard this way.” That is high praise from one of the best coaches in the game. Booker’s defense should allow him to see a lot of minutes early in his career in the NBA. As the year went on, Booker became more comfortable attacking the basket as well. He could get in the lane, finish and deliver some electrifying dunks. However, he definitely has room to improve as finisher. He came into Kentucky as a very polished three point shooter, but left as a complete player.
It seems as if Booker is almost a lock as a lottery pick. With the three point shot becoming so popular, it would be shocking to see 14 teams pass up on the most talented shooter in this year’s draft. However, the Hawks will have the opportunity to move up. If the opportunity is there at the right price, there is no reason the Hawks should not take a chance on Booker. His shot and game reminds me a lot of Klay Thompson, and if Booker can become anything like Thompson the Hawks would be fools not to select him. He is the ideal pick for the Hawks this year, unfortunately, I am just not sure it will work out.
Check out some of his high school and college highlights here: