Phoenix Suns 2015 NBA Draft Grades: Devin Booker

Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

With the 13th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns didn’t get the power forward most fans were probably hoping for. But they did snag Kentucky’s Devin Booker, a sharpshooting guard from Kentucky who will help with a major area of need.

The selection of Booker marked the fourth year in a row the Suns chose a guard in the draft, and Booker was the fourth Kentucky prospect to be taken in this year’s lottery.

Phoenix continued its trend of an all-Kentucky backcourt as well, adding Booker to a group of Wildcat alums that already includes Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Archie Goodwin.

The question is, did the Suns do the right thing based on who was available?

In his freshman year with the NCAA’s deepest powerhouse, Booker averaged 10 points per game while shooting 47 percent from the floor, 41.1 percent from three-point range (on 3.7 attempts per game) and 82.8 percent from the free throw line. Pegged as the best pure shooter in the draft, Booker will certainly address an area of need for the Suns.

After the All-Star Break, the Suns were the worst three-point shooting team in the league, per With unrestricted free agent Gerald Green likely on the way out this summer, Phoenix needed someone who could spread the floor and open up driving lanes for Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight (assuming Knight re-signs this summer).

As the third-leading scorer on the Wildcats, Booker has great size for his position at 6’6″ and he impressed at the 2015 NBA Draft Combine by recording the fastest time in the lane agility AND shuttle runs. At 18 years old, Booker is also the second-youngest prospect in the entire 2015 NBA Draft class, which means he has plenty of time to round out the rest of his game.

Booker will need to improve his ball-handling, and he doesn’t attack the basket very often. But he’ll alleviate some of Phoenix’s spacing issues and provide some much-needed touch from three-point range, a skill that is rapidly becoming a premium value in the league. Just ask the 2015 NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

He also has an elite basketball IQ, which will be an added bonus for an 18-year-old rookie.

But should Phoenix have gone in a different direction at No. 13? According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Suns tried to trade up in the draft to No. 9, where the Charlotte Hornets eventually selected Frank Kaminsky:

But as first reported by’s David Aldridge, Phoenix’s attempts were unsuccessful. The Suns also could’ve had Justise Winslow, who surprisingly stayed on the board until the Miami Heat picked him at No. 10, but they stayed at No. 13 in the end. Perhaps this was a blessing in disguise, as taking Booker at No. 13 over giving up an asset to trade up and take Kaminsky at No. 9 would have been…interesting, to say the least.

The Indiana Pacers took another one of Phoenix’s top targets at No. 11, selecting big man Myles Turner from the University of Texas. When the Utah Jazz selected Trey Lyles at No. 12, the Suns had their pick of Booker, Bobby Portis, Kelly Oubre and Cameron Payne.

Bobby Portis might have been a good fit off the bench behind Markieff Morris as a stretch-4 with Kevin Garnett-like intensity, but in the end general manager Ryan McDonough opted for perimeter shooting over frontcourt depth.

Kelly Oubre is a wing prospect with great physical tools and upside, but he’s a bit of a project and would struggle to find playing time on a team that already has P.J. Tucker, T.J. Warren, Marcus Morris and Danny Granger at the 3.

As for Cameron Payne, he’s a promising young point guard, but the Suns could address their need for a backup point guard in free agency.

Patience is a virtue, and the writing may be on the wall for Gerald Green and Reggie Bullock. But even if Devin Booker is not the power forward or center most were expecting, his elite three-point shooting is a skill that will translate to the next level and make him a great long-term asset to the Phoenix Suns.

Draft Grade: B+

Next: Phoenix Suns 2015 Draft Profiles Master List

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