Is Devin Booker the Next Kobe Bryant?

 

 

 

 

Staff Writer: Corey Darko

 

Since coming into the NBA as the 13th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Devin Booker has exceeded expectations and looks like a franchise cornerstone for the Phoenix Suns to build around. However, the most exciting thing that comes with booker is his upside, as multiple General Managers and scouts have pegged Booker a being the next Kobe. As crazy as this sounds, the comparison isn’t completely ridiculous as Booker’s confidence and mentality to just completely take over games is Kobe-esque. However, we will be reviewing where they are similar and different then drawing a conclusion if Booker is really destined to be the Kobe.

Buckets tho

Caption: Devin Booker driving in for a layup as his explosiveness makes him one of the most promising young players in the NBA.

Credit: Photo taken from Creative Commons.

Where They are Similar: Backstories

Their Backstories could not be any more similar as both their fathers played professional basketball in the NBA and overseas. Both were also drafted as the 13th pick in the 2015 and 1996 NBA draft classes, respectively, as scouts saw a lot of upside in both. However, they were both extremely raw which lead to them dropping in the class. Finally, both were also the youngest players in their draft classes at 18 years old. While this might not mean much, the fact that they had almost identical paths to the NBA is quite fascinating

Where They are Different: Athleticism.

Don’t get me wrong, Booker is an above average athlete and has a very quick first step; however, Kobe was a very special athlete. He had a higher vertical and more explosive than Booker. Not to mention he also won a slam dunk contest, something Booker will probably never even participate in. I won’t go into too much detail here since if you’ve seen bother players, it’s obvious Kobe was more athletic than Booker.

Where They are Similar: Mentality.

This is the area that makes Booker closer to Kobe than anyone else who was ever compared to him (ex. Andrew Wiggins and DeMar DeRozan). Both Booker and Kobe came into the NBA with a chip on their shoulder knowing that 12 teams passed on drafting them and man did that affect their mentality. Kobe was an assassin, someone who wasn’t scared to take the big shots, and had a very competitive nature. Booker was the same way, as he is not scared of the big moment. Booker is so competitive he would often challenge veterans in practice and not let them leave until he beat them as a rookie. After becoming the youngest player in NBA history the score 70 points in a game, Booker told his coach Earl Watson that he would become better than Michael Jordan. The point is, Kobe and Booker’s killer mentality is arguably the main reason why booker is so often compared to Kobe Bryant.

Where They are Different: Defense.

While it’s very early in Booker’s career, his defense leaves a lot to be desired as he often gets caught watching the ball, which results in booker cuts, and struggles fighting through screens. While Booker can become a good defender, I would be shocked if he ever became a Kobe-Level defender as Kobe was arguably one of the best two-way players ever. Kobe was on an all-defensive team 11 times and was an absolute ball-hawk. His quick feet mixed with his athleticism and long arms made him a devastating defender. There is still hope for Booker to become a very good defender as Kobe wasn’t a great defender early in his career, it is still extremely doubtful Booker ever makes an all-defensive team.

Mamba

 
Caption: Kobe Bryant is the player Booker is most often compared to based on his all-time great scoring ability.

Credit: Photo taken from Creative Commons.

Conclusion:

As cliché as this sounds, there will most likely never be another Kobe. Outside of Jordan, I can’t think of a shooting guard who absolutely dominating both ends of the court while has rare athleticism. However, if there was any young player in the NBA right now who I would say has the best chance to become as great as Kobe, the Answer would be Devin Booker. I’ve seen Both Booker and Kobe play, and Booker’s ability to jut silence crowds, take over games is Kobe-esque. Devin Booker is destined to be a special player in this league

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