Shooting Guard, 6’5.75, 206 lbs. Freshman, University of Kentucky, 18 years old
2014-15 college stats:
21.5 minutes, 10.0 points, 47 FG%, 41.1 3P%, 82.8 FT%, 1.1 assists, 2.0 rebounds, 0.4 steals, 0.1 blocks, 19.4 PER.
Devin Booker has two really great advantages going for him at this point. The first one is his age. At just 18 years old, Booker can brag about being the youngest prospect in the entire draft class. He doesn’t turn 19 until October 30th. Being that young can be a disadvantage at times, but having the opportunity to learn from the best at such a young age can really help his game. He’s still raw, so his game can be molded into what coaches and himself think are the best. Also, because he is so young, he is going to still be able to add some strength, which would help him become a better defender at the next level since he isn’t incredibly athletic.
The other big strength would be his 3-point shooting. Booker shot 41.1% from deep in his one and only season with Kentucky. He made 58 out of 141 3s for the year, or 1.5 out of 3.7 per game. The 18-year-old shot five more 2-pointers than he did 3-pointers throughout the entire season. Per 36 minutes, Devin Booker averaged about 6.2 3s per game.
Going along with his great outside shooting, Booker also made 57% of his 2-pointers. It’s not a great sample size for 2s, but he showed the potential. More so, Booker also shot 83% from the free throw line. Again, small sample size since he didn’t get there often, but he did average 85% from the line throughout his high school career.
Probably the most fun part of the Hawks potentially drafting Booker would be Kyle Korver mentoring him. Being mentored by one of the best 3-point shooters in the history of the NBA would be amazing for the youngest player in his class. Most players would want someone like LeBron James or Kobe Bryant to mentor them, but Korver might be the perfect player for Booker to sit behind for a year or two.
Although Booker is a really good shooter, he has some major flaws to his game: his defense and his athleticism. Playing at Kentucky last year, Booker had the luxury of having two of the best college defenders in the country behind him in Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns. If he got caught on a screen, or was facing a very athletic player, he could just funnel them inside into a death trap in the paint. It also doesn’t help that Booker doesn’t have a great wingspan, relative to his size. For what he lacks anatomically, he makes up for it somewhat with his high IQ.
For the entire season, Devin Booker averaged 0.4 assists and 0.1 blocks. Steals usually translate well into the NBA, so it’s not going to expected of Booker to come in and average a steal or two a game. Along with that, Booker hardly drove to the paint when playing. If he shot something other than a 3, it was probably a pull-up jumper, or a mid-range shot. It would be really nice to see him drive a little more and get to the free throw line.
Fit with the Atlanta Hawks:
Devin Booker said he wants to model his game after the Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson. If he can come close to that — and he has the potential to — he could be a steal with the 15th pick in the draft. The Hawks could use another shooter off the bench, especially in a backcourt with Dennis Schroeder and Thabo Sefolosha. Again, Booker is the youngest person in the entire draft class, so he still has plenty of room to grow into his body. The potential is there for him to be the best shooter in the class, and he can be very useful on the Hawks. We’ve seen what Coach Mike Budenholzer has done with Kyle Korver, and it would be cool to see him try and do it with Kyle Korver lite in the lineup, as well.