Devin Booker is the local hope in this year's draft. Due to the fact that it's unlikely that Spartans Travis Trice and Branden Dawson will be drafted, and the fact that Caris LeVert opted to return for one more year in Ann Arbor, Michiganders are left rooting for Grand Rapids native Devin Booker. Booker actually left Michigan at the age of 15 to attend high school in Mississippi after his father had retired from basketball, but was around long enough to develop into a Pistons fan. Booker is also the youngest player in the draft, his birthday (Oct. 30), being one day before mine, but a full year after (damn I'm old).
Booker has decent size for a shooting guard at 6'5.75" in shoes with a 6'8.25" wingspan. Unfortunately for him, shooting guard is perhaps the most secure position on the Pistons roster with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jodie Meeks holding down the spot, plus the prospect of playing two point guard lineups with Reggie Jackson and Brandon Jennings. Booker has decent size about him as well in the form of a 206 pound frame, giving him the same basic measurements as KCP. He also has the same athletic ability in terms of vertical leap. Booker was measured at the draft combine with a 34.5 inch max leap, exactly the same as KCP. Therefore, Booker is by no means a bad athlete, but his numbers certainly aren't as eye popping as some of the other players in this draft.
Style of Play
Devin Booker is billed as perhaps the best shooter in the draft. This is shown in his incredible three point shooting numbers. In his lone season at Kentucky, Booker shot the ball from three at a 41.1% clip, while attempting 3.7 threes per game. He also had a really high three point attempt rate, with 49% of his field goal attempts being from behind the arc. He wasn't afraid to hoist either, considering the fact that he only played about 21 minutes per game, thus raising his per 40 numbers to 6.9 threes attempted. Also, unlike a lot of young college stars, Booker is a good foul shooter, knocking down his freebies at a 82.8% clip. For reference, D'Angelo Russell, the best overall offensive player in the draft, was only a 76% free throw shooter at Ohio State.
While Booker is a very good player on the offensive end, he isn't known as a defensive stalwart. He certainly has the length to stay in front of and bother smaller guards, but lacks the quickness or strength to probably ever be a lockdown defender. His respectable defensive rating of 92.2 could likely have been skewed by the fact that he was playing with two defensive stars behind him in Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns. Booker still contributed 1.8 defensive win shares in limited minutes, which isn't too bad at all, but any team that drafts him will not be drafting him for a defensive role, but rather to bang da treys.
Overall, his statistical production besides scoring is a little lackluster. Again, he only played 21 minutes per game at Kentucky, but per 40 minutes, he only averaged 3.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists, with less than a steal. Quite frankly, at this stage in his career, Booker is nothing more than a spot up shooter, and a potentially lethal one at that, but he isn't much of an offensive creator (10.9 assist percentage, 10.4 turnover percentage) or rebounder. Still, at 18 years of age, he most definitely has time on his side to develop a more well-rounded arsenal.
Booker is about as capable of providing small forward minutes as KCP, meaning that, for situationals, sure, but not as a regular guy in that position. Therefore, it would be a bit of a surprise to see Booker drafted to the Pistons, even though his elite shooting could be a boon for a sometimes struggling offense. Unless Stan Van Gundy has him ranked very highly on his draft board, imagine him to fall past Detroit, where Charlotte would likely pick him up to hit threes in their cathartic offense and pair him on the wings with newly acquired Nicolas Batum, especially considering as they have traded away all their shooting guard depth in the last week, by sending Lance Stephenson to the Clippers and Gerald Henderson to the Blazers.