Devin Booker interview
By Jeff Lenchiner, InsideHoops.com
September 20, 2016
Suns guard Devin Booker had an excellent rookie season, averaging 13.8 points per game for the year and showing clear improvement as time went on. He averaged 17.3 ppg in January, 13.5 ppg in February, 22.4 ppg in March, and 18.1 ppg in April. His shot consistency is still developing of course, but Booker's future is very bright.
InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner met with Booker this summer during Team USA practices in Las Vegas (Booker was on the USA "Select" Team) for an exclusive interview:
InsideHoops.com: So after one season, how would you summarize your time in the league so far? Your strengths, weaknesses, what you've learned.
Devin Booker: It's been a lot of learning in my rookie season. Not only the on the court stuff but off the court stuff. The NBA is more than just basketball, it's a business also. But on the court, I learned so many things. The attention to detail that they watch in the NBA is incredible. A bunch of little things that you used to be able to get away with in college, you don't get away with anymore. You have to pay attention to every single little thing you do, and that's just what I learned. You have to pay attention to detail, and take care of your body.
InsideHoops.com: What are some of the little things in college on the court you could get away with that you can't in the NBA?
Booker: Mostly defensively. You can kind of take off on the defensive end in college because you might not be playing against someone that's that good, but everybody on the court in the NBA is a good player, so you realize that every night someone's trying to go at you. So even the nights you think you have an off night, when you go to Milwaukee or something, you still got the Greek Freak and Jabari [Parker] going at you. It's a crazy talented league, and I found that out really quick.
InsideHoops.com: Have you had to change your shot in any way in the league? Things are quicker now.
Booker: You have to get it off quicker, for sure, but I was always taught, if you have to get off a shot that fast then you shouldn't be able to shoot it. You should drive and create for somebody else.
InsideHoops.com: Your NBA career just began, but do you have a favorite moment in the league so far? Aside from getting drafted.
Booker: Playing against Kobe. Got a chance to play against Kobe, one of my childhood idols. My first year, and the year that he's leaving, it's just crazy how I can always say I got a chance to play against Kobe Bryant.
InsideHoops.com: Did you get a chance to talk to him?
Booker: Yeah, we actually talked for like 15 minutes after the game. He called me [into] his locker room. We had a long conversation. He told me a lot of stuff, and stuff I've heard before but when you hear it from Kobe, it sticks that much more.
InsideHoops.com: What's the most memorable thing Kobe said to you?
Booker: Be legendary. He signed a pair of shoes for me, and wrote "be legendary" on them also. That's something that is always going to stick in my head.
InsideHoops.com: That must be so cool, to be a pro, but then meeting the guy who helped inspire you to even be here.
Booker: He inspired me. He changed the game of basketball. Changed the city of Los Angeles. Just incredible. The way he went out and got love on every road trip he went on. If you wouldn't want to go out like that, I don't know why you're playing the game. So that always sticks in my head while I'm playing. When I'm done, I want to be remembered as someone like Kobe Bryant.