Devin Booker and the double team during open gym controversy

Devin Booker Phoenix Suns (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
Devin Booker Phoenix Suns (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Devin Booker has been making the rounds this summer with videos of him working on his game. His most recent clip has caused some unexpected controversy.

If you haven’t seen the video below of Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker and current NBA free agent Joakim Noah barking at each other during a pickup game, have a watch (warning: NSFW language). It may not look like much, but it has spawned a viral controversy.

In order to keep their edge and improve their skills during the offseason, NBA players compete in open gym pickup games. Open gym is a misleading name for these games because you and I can’t exactly walk onto that court claiming we got next.

The cast of characters in these games range from, “Wow, he’s  there,” to “Hah, I can’t believe he’s there.”

In the above video, outside of the central figures of Booker and Noah, I spot Tony Snell, Ben Simmons, Justice Winslow, and Trey Lyles.

I’m sure the comment section will politely call out the faces I don’t recognize.

In this video, Booker receives the ball and prepares to make a post move, which is followed by Noah yelling, “Go Snell,” at which point Tony Snell runs over to double team Booker.

Booker’s pass is deflected out of bounds which stops the game and causes him to declare, “We not doubling in open gym. I get that sh!t all season. Let’s work on our game, bro.”

Noah, notable world’s ugliest dog look-a-like, fires back, “Yeah, we are. It’s part of the game.”

Then, out of (humorous?) spite, Booker gets triple teamed before the next play when the video cuts off.

The video has made its rounds across the most every major sports news outlet with most opinions falling on Noah’s side of the argument.

Joakim Noah is one of those guys who you love if he’s on your team and hate if he’s not. This was true when he was an obnoxious winner of back-to-back tiles at Florida and remained true throughout his NBA career.

Clevelanders hate him for his tireless trashing of their city, of which I begrudgingly give him credit for one of my favorite disses of all time, “I’ve never heard of anyone say, ‘I’m going to Cleveland on vacation.'”

Neither player’s position surprises me. On one hand you have Noah being predictably way too aggressive in a pickup game and on the other hand you have a slightly over-sensitive Booker just trying to do his own thing on the court.

Those on Team Noah claim that because, by Booker’s own admission, he will see double teams all season, it only makes sense to practice them in the offseason.

Those on Team Booker claim he’s there to work on his playmaking skills, not to practice passing out of double teams. This seems entirely reasonable, and I don’t understand the several professional opinion-havers calling Booker a whiner for this.

Booker took to social media recently to defend his side:

"…I grew up in a gym/gyms where my pops had me guard 30 yr olds at age 14. I got scored on 5 straight times on the block, looked at my pops for help and he had this face on . I didn’t get picked up the rest of the week. So every time I played open gym the rest of my life it’s a eat or be eaten mentality. In games, if teams run and jump double you, USUALLY the right play is pass out immediately, you have a 4 on 3 advantage. Not saying I don’t get aggressive sometimes and shoot over it. But making the right play/trust your teammates in within hoop. I didn’t want to spend my lovely Tuesday afternoon passing out of a double, I can work on that with my homies at the house."

As a longstanding Noah hater and Booker fan, it’s difficult to stay neutral on this, but if I try, I’m still inclined to adorn a Team Booker jersey here.

Siding with Noah seems like it would be giving credit to the pickup player stereotype that I hate most: the slightly-older-than-everyone-else-dude-who-takes-it-way-more-seriously-than-he -should-while-talking-incessantly.

Next. Where are the 2009-10 Phoenix Suns now?. dark

That said, Booker could probably have let the one time incident go, assuming it was, in fact, a one time incident. For all we know, this could have been a trend that finally got Booker fed up to the point of lashing out.

So what say you? Are you on Team Booker or Team Noah in the great double team during open gym controversy?