Before a Kentucky game not long ago, one of those "drop-in" expert analysts said about Jamal Murray, "He's a good shooter, but not very good at creating his own shots."
Creating his own shots, good ones and bad ones, is what was driving his coach crazy. Anyone who had been watching Kentucky,game in and game out, knew that this was a special Murray trait. Where did this flawed intelligence come from?
Probably from the same "intelligence" that deemed Devin Booker a one-dimensional outside shooter who couldn't put the ball on the floor. That was his rap from Day One at Kentucky and it used to burn me up.
I just read, courtesy of Jason Marcum's post, that Booker is suddenly being appreciated as a complete ballplayer.
According to Earl Watson, the new Phoenix coach since Jeff Hornacek was fired, "When Booker came out of college, we all thought he was just a catch-and-shoot player. Then as we see Booker put the ball on the ground, make plays, make great passes, last game he had a left-hand pass in transition to Archie Goodwin for a dunk. That was exceptional."
Nice to see Booker getting his due. But when he was here, what impressed me most was his ability to use his shooting reputation as a way to get defenders off balance, leaning forward, and then drive by them. He was particularly effective on the fast break. Of course, given his limited playing time - just over 20 minutes a game - it's easy to see how all the things he could do might have been overlooked.
But not by the so-called experts. The former players who come in here to broadcast the games. The NBA scouts who come in and pay attention, watching for details the average fan isn't bothering to watch. Fans are caught up in the score. The scout could care less who wins. He's looking to see Willie Cauley-Stein's shooting range, or whether or not James Young can play defense. Can Brandon Knight go to his left? Can Kyle Wiltjer jump?
Which is why it's surprising when they're so wrong about something that was so clear to most of us. I could tell Devin Booker had a complete game. My only regret is that we didn't get him for another season. This year's backcourt is fantastic - but could you imagine Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis getting to play together for 38 minutes a night?