Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker became the first player from the 2015 NBA Draft class to receive a massive contract extension this summer. After establishing an impressive performance in his first three years in the NBA, the Suns rewarded Booker with a five-year, $158 million extension. Most people will agree that the former 13th overall pick deserves a huge payday.
Though the Suns haven’t made an appearance in the Western Conference Playoffs since 2010, Devin Booker has shown his potential to become the player who could bring Phoenix back to title contention. In the 54 games he played last season, the 21-year-old shooting guard averaged 24.9 points, 4.7 assists, and 4.5 rebounds on 43.2 percent shooting from the field and 38.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Devin Booker is definitely aware that signing a maximum contract extension comes with the responsibility of putting the Suns on the map again. Booker expressed his willingness to accept the tough challenge. The young superstar is very optimistic that the Suns are currently in a “better shape” to have a “better season.”
“It’s winning time,” Booker said, via CBS Sports. “With that contract, and even before the contract, I felt that pressure to succeed for the city and the franchise. They took a chance on me to be that [max] guy, I know it comes with a lot of leadership and responsibility, but I think I’m built for it. I’m looking forward to next year a lot, with the additions to the team, we’re in much better shape to have a much better season.”
The Suns have managed to make several changes on their roster this offseason. They acquired DeAndre Ayton and Mikal Bridges in the 2018 NBA Draft, and signed Trevor Ariza in the recent free agency. Of all their acquisitions, Devin Booker is most interested in sharing the court with Ayton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Booker believes Ayton, whom he called a downforce threat, will boost the Suns’ performance on both ends of the floor. The Suns are expecting that Booker and Ayton will be the next version of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
Despite the improvements they made this offseason, it still remains a big question if the Suns have what it takes to earn a playoff spot in the 2018-19 NBA season. The Western Conference just got tougher now that LeBron James, is playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. In the recent ESPN summer forecast, panelists predicted the Suns to have more wins than they have last season, but they are only expected to finish as the second worst team in the Western Conference with a 27-55 win-loss record.