The Phoenix Suns pulled off the miraculous feat of eliminating the Los Angeles Lakers from the 2021 NBA Playoffs. They move onto the second round where they’ll take on Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. Although the Suns were the higher seed in the first round, the Lakers were still viewed as the favorite to win the series. After eliminating the defending champions, Phoenix looks to make a long playoff run and potentially reach the NBA Finals with an attack led by Devin Booker.
Devin Booker has stood out and emerged as a superstar last year in The Bubble and carried it into this year. Since acquiring Chris Paul, the Suns have been on fire throughout the 2021 season, and Booker made an All-Star appearance for the first time in his career. To close out the series against the Lakers, Booker dropped a stat line of 47 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 assists.
The Suns’ star shooting guard has proven time and time again that he’s the real deal. So much so that he’s beginning to pull comparisons to the NBA legend Kobe Bryant. With six years of professional experience under his belt alongside a potentially deep playoff run this year, Devin Booker is shaping up to be Bryant’s successor in the NBA. With that said, here are three ways Devin Booker is exactly like Kobe Bryant.
Similar stat-line through first 6 years
Kobe’s rookie year was spent as more as a role player, whereas Devin Booker was a starter from the get-go. Other than that, their career path is incredibly similar through the first six years. Booker has a slight edge in assists, while Bryant held a slight edge in rebounding. However, their scoring is rather similar.
By their sixth year in the NBA, both Booker and Bryant averaged just over 25 points per game. Neither quite hit that “superstar” level until their fifth year in the league. Bryant averaged 28.5 points per game in his fifth season, whereas Booker took over in The Bubble and put himself on the map. Based on the projection of Booker’s career, he’s could continue to grow in the NBA the same way Bryant did.
Booker and Kobe elevate their game in the playoffs
Kobe Bryant is one of the most clutch basketball players of all time and seemed to step up when his team needed him the most. During Game 6 between the Suns and Lakers on Thursday night, Booker did just that. After dropping 47 points, Booker gave the Suns the push they needed to close out the series against a dangerous team and the defending champions.
That is something we’re all too familiar with when remembering Kobe Bryant. Hitting the shots when they matter the most, knocking out a tough Suns team that was stacked with Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire, and leading his team to victory is one of many examples for Kobe. Devin Booker seems to have picked up that trait, as he’s proven to be clutch in crunch time.
They have a competitors mindset
Kobe Bryant coined the phrase “Mamba Mentality” as a way to separate himself from his competitors. Based on what we’ve seen from Devin Booker, it’s safe to say he likely has his own versions of Mamba Mentality he utilizes. We likely caught a glimpse of it on Thursday night, as Booker led his team throughout the game. Nobody was going to outscore Booker and he wasn’t going to let his team lose an important game. That’s a trait that is very much in common with Kobe Bryant.