Is Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker poised to morph into Harden-like player?

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Devin Booker and James Harden, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Devin Booker and James Harden, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

If we’re talking about defense, playoff success and current standing as a 32-year-old, you don’t necessarily want to be compared with James Harden. But if we’re talking prime offensive capacity and subsequent viewing as a perennial MVP candidate, then you absolutely do.

Harden’s offensive playstyle may have annoyed plenty during his prime period, most notably for the way he manipulated league rules, drew contact on his way to the rim, and subsequently shot a ton of free throws. But there’s no denying his function as one of the best scorers this league has ever seen.

While their playstyles may be different, there’s a similarity between James Harden and Devin Booker that could forecast an elevation for the younger star.

Harden and Booker don’t necessarily share the same skill set – the latter doesn’t possess the ability to ever be one of the league’s leaders in free throw attempts. Simultaneously, Booker owns a far more effective mid-range and post-up game, owing to his love of Kobe Bryant and Harden’s former team, the Houston Rockets, practically trying to send that element of scoring into extinction.

There is a similarity in positional development though. Both players began their careers as ‘shooting-guards’, which Booker still is and will be while Paul is at the Suns.

Harden has since transformed into a lead ball-handler and decision-maker, to the point where his ability and willingness (or lack thereof) to play off-the-ball is often put into question. Booker remains a score-first guard, but his creative instincts and development into a combo-guard has already began.

If we forget playstyle and look purely at the raw numbers over the course of their careers, then a correlation emerges that could pave the way for Booker to follow a similar path into an MVP calibre player.