Can Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker be Shaq & Kobe 2.0?

Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton Phoenix Suns (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton Phoenix Suns (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Phoenix Suns are currently on a 10-year playoff drought, but the dynamic duo of Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker make it a realistic possibility to end that streak in the near future.

Let’s start with the main reason behind the excitement, Devin Booker. Booker is a 6’5″ shooting guard from Kentucky in his 5th NBA season who was just selected to his first of hopefully many NBA All-Star games. About halfway through his rookie year it was looking like Booker would be the future of the Phoenix Suns, and since then he has not disappointed.

Devin currently ranks 12th All-Time in scoring for the Suns, 13th in assists, and 4th in 3-pointers made in only 334 games.

Booker is a lights-out shooter, a severely underrated passer, an improved defender, one of the most efficient players in the NBA, and of course, an elite scorer. This season Booker is averaging 26.1 points per game on a career-high 48.7% from the field in what may have been a playoff season for the Suns if not for the Deandre Ayton suspension and a host of injuries.

Booker has the right mentality and the skills to be the Phoenix Suns franchise player and one day lead the Suns to an NBA Championship.

light. Related Story. ESPN's Booker comparison is way off

Next, we have Deandre Ayton, the first-ever number one overall pick in Phoenix Suns’ history and maybe already the best center the Suns have ever had. Ayton has been a double-double machine from the second he stepped on the court, averaging 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds his rookie year and recording 39 double-doubles in 71 games played. Coming into his sophomore season one of the biggest knocks on Ayton was his defense, and he quickly put a silence to the haters.

Ayton is currently averaging 1.7 blocks per game this season and has had seven games with three or more blocks in his short 30 games played. His rookie year he only had 2 more games in that category with way more games played.

Just like his fellow franchise cornerstone Devin Booker, Ayton’s passing doesn’t get enough credit. He averages 1.8 assists for his career and has already had 29 games with 3+ assists as a big man. What makes Ayton’s passing special is his awareness. He knows when to pass out to an open shooter and the assist numbers will only go up when the talent around him does.

The most fascinating part of Ayton’s game has always been his rebounding. This season he became an even better rebounder, averaging 12 boards per game compared to 10.3 last season. Ayton racked up seven games of 14 or more rebounds this season including a 21 rebound game against the New York Knicks.

When you put the 2 players together you can’t help but be excited for the future of the Phoenix Suns. Their styles of play mesh perfectly. Ayton can dominate inside and has shown interest in wanting to extend the range on his jump shot. Booker can get it done from anywhere on the court and has no problem dishing out 10+ assists when needed.

When Ayton compared himself and Booker to Shaq and Kobe before even being drafted to Phoenix, it was amazing to see a top prospect openly excited about the idea of playing for the Suns.

Now I don’t think Ayton and Booker are going to play exactly like the best 1-2 punch of All-Time, but they could dominate just like the Lakers did during their 3-peat. Ayton plays nothing like Shaq but could be similar in the regard of being a dominant big man who is a paint presence and terrific rebounder.

On the other hand, the closest player in the NBA to the late great Kobe Bryant is Devin Booker, from the mid-range shooting, the footwork, the mindset, everything about Booker screams Kobe, and when you take a look at what Kobe did for the Lakers it’s great to have one of his disciples.

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I think the Suns will eventually win a championship (or more) with Ayton and Booker; it’s just a matter of when and how many.