Devin Booker: We’ve been babied, we need to be humbled
PHOENIX – On Tuesday night, the Phoenix Suns lost their 50th game of the season. It’s the most losses of any NBA team.
A lot of that, though, was to be expected considering the youth of the Suns roster — 12 players age 24 or younger — compared to the rest of the league. In other words, there were going to be growing pains in 2017-18. That was a given.
Apparently, the Suns aren’t growing up fast enough.
“I think right now is an evaluation period for us. We know that as a team, and we’re not treating it like that,” guard Devin Booker said, following the Suns’ 129-107 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in which they fell behind by double digits just three minutes into the game and trailed by 20 at the end of the first quarter.
“I think our whole team has been spoiled enough, including myself, with playing time at a young age to where we get to play through mistakes,” Booker continued. “Sometimes there’s punishment, sometimes there’s not. You look at teams like Cleveland, they make one mistake and you’re out of the game. We’ve been babied a little bit and it shows sometimes. We need to look ourselves in the eyes, all together as a team, and understand that this game isn’t given to you.
“We just need to be humbled a little bit.”
Booker pointed to rookie Shaquille Harrison. Here’s a player, Booker said, who earned himself a multi-year deal after a pair of 10-day contracts. Harrison earned his spot in the NBA, the hard way.
Harrison is 24. He went undrafted out of college and spent time in the G League before making his NBA debut. Many of his new teammates received their opportunity immediately, without the long journey.
Against the Cavaliers, the Suns started Booker, Dragan Bender, Josh Jackson, Elfrid Payton and T.J. Warren. That’s five former lottery picks, all of whom played extensively, and have since, their rookie years.
“I look at some kids from my draft class that are really talented that still haven’t got a real opportunity to actually play through mistakes…and our whole team gets that chance,” Booker said.