Devin Booker plays Suns teammate trivia, gives 1st impressions of new names
Oct 5, 2023, 4:15 PM | Updated: 4:25 pm
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX — Ninety-nine.
In the last eight seasons of Phoenix Suns basketball, 99 different players have appeared in a game, and only one has seen all of it.
Devin Booker’s been here in the Valley through several roster makeovers. That number of 99 drew a whistle from Booker when he spoke with Arizona Sports on Thursday.
The latest shift came this summer with a handful of new teammates to get to know during training camp.
The franchise leaderboards since 2015 are dominated by Booker, as you’d assume, via Stathead. In the games played department, the 530 in the regular season far eclipses Mikal Bridges in second at 365, and Bridges never missed one!
With a nod to The Athletic’s Doug Haller for his Chris Paul guessing game inspiring the idea, I quizzed Booker on this leaderboard.
Booker only needed five guesses to finish out the other four in the top five.
Yep, there are the first two trailing him, correctly starting with Bridges and Deandre Ayton (third, 303 games played).
After a hint that it was two more players that were drafted by Phoenix but in an earlier era, he went with a solid Marquese Chriss guess (12th, 154) before nailing it.
“T.J. Warren? And… Alex Len?”
Yes indeed. Warren (fourth, 237) and Len (fifth, 224) round it out.
Booker obviously tops the charts in points (12,688) and assists (2,521) over that time. He’s even up there on rebounds (second, 2,105), blocks (fourth, 146) and steals (second, 449). Booker is just 19 steals off Bridges’ top mark of 468.
“Oh, OK! I’ll get that,” Booker said.
We’re going to reach the century mark on the number of Booker teammates once opening night rolls around.
Arguably the most significant additions came in the summer of 2019, when the James Jones and Monty Williams era got underway, and a new roster led by Booker started to get serious positive momentum. And at training camp in Flagstaff, I went rapid fire through the new names with Booker to get his first impressions on guys like Cam Johnson, Ricky Rubio and Dario Saric.
We revisited the same format four years later for a new group of guys. Here’s Booker on most of the new faces, along with some additional context from yours truly to fill in the blanks.
“Balance and buckets.” (Speaks for itself, like Beal’s game.)
“Bosnian beast.” (Nurkic is from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Booker cited the nickname the big man has earned.)
“Square base.” (A deep cut. Pay attention the next time you see Gordon shoot a basketball and you’ll see how he sets a strong, reliable base for his shooting form.)
“Versatile.” (Bates-Diop can defend all sorts of different players up and down the depth chart.)
“He has a clip, man. It’s forty percent.” (Allen is an elite shooter and Booker has the statistics down.)
“Motor.” (Eubanks plays hard and isn’t afraid to get physical, which surely has popped in just a few practices already.)
“Sniper.” (Booker got the first-hand experience of Watanabe’s shooting prowess in some 5-on-5 work Thursday when they were on the same squad.)
“Never seen before.” (As in we’ve never seen someone like Bol, and that’s for sure. Bol’s immense length is accompanied by an uncanny ability to get jumpers off at his size.)