Devin Booker had, perhaps, his greatest stretch as an NBA player during his brief time in the Orlando bubble. After years of questions surrounding his leadership’s effectiveness, the Phoenix Suns were one of the league’s success stories despite missing the playoffs. As such, Booker’s massive contract looks better by the day.
Devin Booker’s rise
Booker was just 19 years old when he came into the league after a single season at John Calipari’s reliable basketball program in Kentucky. Chosen with the 13th overall pick, booker both had expectations to perform in a way worthy of a lottery pick while also having enough question marks to wonder if he’d ever be a real star. He quickly proved the 12 teams that passed on him that he was more than a 13th pick.
It didn’t take long for Booker to go from the Suns’ bench to their starting lineup, averaging nearly 14 points a game as a rookie. However, by his second year in the league, he was the team’s ace. Although Booker was on the NBA’s radar, his 70-point outburst against the Boston Celtics helped put him on the map, but the Suns continued to lose, and the criticisms about his role continued to the current season.
Booker’s individual talent has never been in question. He is, after all, one of the best scorers in the NBA. However, the team never won more than 24 games throughout his first four seasons in the NBA. While the 2019-20 Suns weren’t anything great, their stint inside the bubble showed that change could be on the horizon.
The Orlando bubble
Going into the bubble, reports Yahoo Sports, the Suns were on pace to have a similar, albeit better season than they had during Booker’s first few seasons. The team had a new coach in Monty Williams, but many of the same problems persisted throughout the season. However, once the bubble resumed the NBA season after four months, something was different.
Led by Devin Booker, the Suns didn’t just start winning; they went undefeated. The team was 8-0 in Orlando, including a memorable game-winner by Booker. Although many questioned their qualifications for being there, to begin with, Booker showed that the doubters were wrong, averaging 31 points, six assists, and just under five rebounds during the eight-game stretch.
The only thing that didn’t go Phoenix’s way, however, was the standings. Despite the excellent performance from Booker and company, the Suns missed out on the chance for the play-in game thanks to their slow start coming into the bubble. However, going forward, they have lots to look forward to, and Booker might prove to be worth his massive contract, too.
How much is Devin Booker making?
Booker is just coming off of a rookie contract that paid him just three million dollars during the 2018-19 season, details Spotrac. However, after proving that he was the best Suns’ draft pick since Amare Stoudemire, the team spared no expense to ensure his services going into his first contract negotiations. Booker made north of $27 million during the 2019-20 season, and it only gets better from there.
While Booker might not be making the $40 million a year salaries that players like Chris Paul and John Wall make, he’s one of the league’s top earners. At just 26 years old when his current contract, which will pay him over $36 million, is up, he will likely get an even better deal when he goes into negotiation season next time.
Time will tell if the Suns can build off the bubble success, but Booker appears well on the way to taking the next step, and still, in his early twenties, the best may be yet to come.