Devin Booker is one of the best young players in the NBA right now. Still not turning 22 until the start of this season, Booker already has a 20 point-per-game career average including an astounding 25 points per game last season – already his third in the league. Not only is he a knock-down shooter (38.3% from three on seven attempts per game), but he’s also rounded out into more of a complete player than most expected putting up 4.7 assists per game and 4.5 rebounds per game in less than 36 minutes.
As a member of the NBA LIVE Squad, which currently also includes cover athlete Joel Embiid, The Streets ambassador Allen Iverson, and Female Create-a-Player ambassador Candace Parker, Book is joining what is making for one heck of an all-time pick-up squad. We had the good fortune of sitting down with Booker and asking him about his career.
The first topic we wanted to tackle had to do with Devin’s already-developed skill set. When he came into the league, he was known as being one of the freshmen on the stacked 2014-2015 Kentucky basketball team. To give you an idea of how stacked they were, future NBA players Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Willie Cauley-Stein, Trey Lyles, Dakari Johnson, and Tyler Ullis were all on this team as well forcing Booker to come off the bench. No matter the playing time, Booker looked the part of a lottery pick and dazzled in interviews, the combination of his footwork and shooting ability had already proven to translate over early on.
“I’d say Rip Hamilton and Kobe Bryant were two guys I based my game off of,” he said when describing his development. “Rip Hamilton, from the aspect of moving without the ball, was always intriguing to me. He never stopped moving and got open because of it. Kobe, without a doubt, was because of his footwork – it was on-point, and the mentality that he brought to the game, it was just second-to-none.”
In NBA LIVE 19, we have a new ICON Progression System which allows you to model your game after different players. Regardless of your size, weight, or even gender, you can be like Book in NBA LIVE 19 in a number of different ways the same way he took certain aspects of Kobe and Rip’s respective games. He expanded on becoming more of the personality that Kobe was in order to hit the next level of his career – one that already sees him as the veteran in the locker room though he’s still young himself.
“I need to be a leader,” he started. “Becoming a vocal leader, and by that, taking on more responsibility. Becoming the face of a franchise along with having a young team and helping them, getting them on the right page to start their careers, it’s all important.”
Book’s Phoenix Suns are young and hungry – they’re loaded with young talent and thus, full of potential. On the court, they have dozens of combinations available all-filled with lottery picks such as Booker, Josh Jackson, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender, Mikal Bridges, and this year’s top selection, DeAndre Ayton (Ayton holds the top individual rookie rating in NBA LIVE 19). Along with vets like T.J. Warren, Trevor Ariza, Brandon Knight, and Tyson Chandler, the Suns are looking to translate from potential to competitor sooner rather than later and a lot of that starts with Booker.
We’ve interviewed a number of athletes about the passion they get playing in The Streets – when you sit across from them, you instantly see a smile go across a player’s face as the memories seem to swell up. Moments where players first beat their older brothers on the court, when they won bragging rights, where they would go play for fun after years and years of pressure-filled games – the streets mean something more than just another court to play in. No matter if their version of a playground was concrete, their driveway, or an open gym, these memories are cherished for individual – Devin shared that sentiment with us.
“That’s where it all started. When I look back to my hometown, I think of this park, Heritage Park,” he said when taking himself back to his younger days in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I think that everyone has that special place that they can just go back and feel the memories of being free, being a kid, and doing what you love.”
Devin Booker is putting himself in some pretty elite company joining Embiid, Parker, and Iverson to be on Team NBA LIVE. As the season gets closer, so does the release of NBA LIVE – and now, you’ll be able to create your own legacy just like these great players!
- Rahul Lal (Follow Rahul on Twitter @rlal95)
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