For four years, Devin Booker ate his black bread. From 2015 to -2019, the Suns full-back won 22 games per year. And yet, just two years later, he will play his first NBA Finals.
An almost unexpected turnaround. “It’s been a long time. That’s what I told Jay Gaspar, our OEM manager. He’s the only one who’s been here longer than me. He’s been here for 30 years. So there is him and Julie (Fie, in charge of franchise communications, at the club since 1992) too. But it took a long time. We hit rock bottom, even rock bottom, for several years. “
The arrival of Monty Williams as a trigger
Then everything accelerated with obviously the arrival of Chris Paul but especially that of Monty Williams the year before. “We had our heads down and then Monty arrived, established his culture and he guided us. The opportunity presented itself before us and we seized it ” adds back in press conference.
Originally from Mississippi, Devin Booker feels right at home in Arizona. “It’s real love but it’s a difficult relationship to explain. I always tell people: Phoenix is my third home and they adopted me from day one. I worked like crazy and went through a lot. “
Now, Devin Booker has brought Phoenix back to the NBA Finals, 28 years after those disputed by the gang of Charles Barkley who had not unworthy but had fallen on a Michael Jordan at the top of his art. “I already saw a few images of the parade when they had qualified for the NBA Finals. There were 300,000 people in front of the room. So I started to like Phoenix from that point on. Even when we were at our lowest, the fans supported us, the love across this city was always there. Phoenix is my city. “
Partner with Chris Paul since 2015
If they are now teammates, Devin Booker and Chris Paul had already rubbed shoulders in 2015, before the Draft from behind. The young man took the opportunity to show his competitive side. “In my opinion, he thought we were going to play it easy and respect him, but from the start I started talking badly to him (laughs). “
A thirst for victory that they put today at the service of the collective. “Many times we disagreed. But that’s the kind of player you like to have on your team and not against you. It’s like with Jae Crowder. These are guys you’re ready to go to war with. You want to have them with you because you know that when you are going to be a little tough, you will be supported ” thus testifies Devin Booker.
After eliminating the two teams from Los Angeles, Phoenix is waiting for the apotheosis. “We still have work to do. That’s what we did but we absolutely want this Larry O’Brien trophy. “ It would be a first in the history of the club, which lost two Finals, those of 1993 but also those of 1976.
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Devin Booker relishes the light