Even though the Phoenix Suns find themselves staring at a 3-2 series deficit in the 2021 NBA Finals, Devin Booker has firmly established himself as a superstar in the league.
Booker carved up the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and L.A. Clippers en route to his first Finals berth, showing off his polished mid-range game and sweet shooting stroke. Despite the current NBA trend of hunting 3-pointers and shots at the rim, Booker has proven that the mid-range area of the floor still has plenty of utility, especially considering most defenses are happy to concede that shot.
When watching Booker play, it is easy to recognize Lakers legend Kobe Bryant’s game in him. People like Stephen A. Smith have gone as far to call Booker the next Bryant but the Suns shooting guard shot that notion down, via ESPN:
“I haven’t really thought about it much,” Booker said. “I know it’s something that everyone has going on right now, and I didn’t make that comparison myself. I just leave it as what he’s done for me as a mentor and the advice that he’s left me with it. I try to take to bits and pieces of his mentality and his approach but I should never be compared to Kobe Bryant.
Booker was one of the few players who got to learn directly under Bryant, which must have been a dream come true as he was his favorite player growing up. Both bigger shooting guards with great touch on their jump shots, Bryant was a natural muse for Booker to mold his game after and the fruits of his labor have really started to pay off.
However, it is hard to compare any player to Bryant and even though Booker has the most aesthetically similar game to the Lakers icon, it makes sense why he would want those comparisons between the two to stop. Booker is his own player and should do his best to carve out his own identity versus living off his mentor’s name.
Booker reveals what Bryant would have told him in NBA Finals
When the Suns were up 2-0 on the Milwaukee Bucks, Booker was asked what he thinks Bryant would tell him at that stage of the playoffs. Booker said he thinks Bryant would have told him to get the job done, which seems on-brand for the Black Mamba.
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