Suns’ choice of Devin Booker earns praise from analysts

Kentucky guard Devin Booker has drawn comparisons from some analysts to Golden State's Klay Thompson.

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The Suns’ selection of Devin Booker earned high praise in FOXSports.com’s breakdown of Thursday’s NBA Draft. FOX’s team of NBA correspondents also believes Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is a good fit for the Brooklyn Nets but was not as sold on Detroit’s pick of Arizona forward Stanley Johnson.

Here’s what they had to say:

13. Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker, SG, 18, 6-6, 206 lbs., Kentucky

‹Best available or best fit (or both)?

Both. Booker was a projected lottery pick, so this is in line with where he should’ve been taken. The Suns have a slew of backcourt free agents, so Booker is nice insurance in case Brandon Knight, Gerald Green and/or Marcus Thornton leave. Also, you can never have enough shooting.

What does he bring to the team?

Shooting, shooting and more shooting. Booker may be the best shooter in the draft –€” he’s most dangerous spotting up or running off screens –€” with the size and basketball IQ to potentially expand his game, much like Klay Thompson (his most common comparison).

‹When can he contribute?

At least one-to-two years. Booker can theoretically contribute from opening night because he has an elite skill that is valuable in today’s game, but with the Suns hoping to fight for one of the West’s final playoff spots, he could get buried on the bench. Given his age (he’s the youngest player in the draft), Phoenix will bring him along slowly.

Was this the right choice?

Yes. Booker could’ve gone as high as No. 9, so getting him at No. 13 is good value, especially if he can grow into even 75 percent of the player Thompson is. Booker won’t be a star, but he’s probably a top-12 player in this draft when all is said and done. 

8. Detroit Pistons: Stanley Johnson, 19, SF, 6-7, 242 lbs., Arizona

Best available or best fit (or both)?

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Neither. The Pistons passed on the shockingly available Justise Winslow, a multi-purpose player who will likely be an All-Star. Johnson can do most of what Winslow does . . . but just not as well.

‹What does he bring to the team?

Johnson is a lengthy wingman who will help spread the Pistons offense with his shooting and can break down defenses off the dribble. An exceptional leaper and athlete, his ceiling is extremely high as a defender under coach Stan Van Gundy, and he’s a marvel in the open court.

When can he contribute?

Johnson will probably get big minutes right away, joining the Pistons’ young starting lineup.

Was this the right choice?

No. They should’ve taken Winslow. Johnson has prior relationships with Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, so this could have been a chemistry choice, but that still doesn’t explain passing on Winslow. He is a better shooter and defender, and his toughness and defensive versatility would have fit perfectly in Van Gundy’s schemes.

23. Brooklyn Nets (via the Portland Trail Blazers): Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, 20, SF, 6-7, 211 lbs., Arizona

‹Best available or best fit (or both)?

Best available. There were players available with more star potential, but Hollis-Jefferson is an elite athlete and defender who doesn’t need a lot of touches to contribute.

What does he bring to the team?

Everything except for shooting and scoring. Hollis-Jefferson can take the toughest defensive assignment from Day 1 and hold his own, which is something Brooklyn needs given the tired legs of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.

When can he contribute?

For now, he should have a spot in the rotation backing up Bojan Bogdanvoic. If his jumper develops quicker than expected , it’s possible he supplants Bogdanovic in the starting lineup at some point. 

Was this the right choice?

Yes. Although it cost Mason Plumlee and another athletic prospect in Pat Connaughton, Hollis-Jefferson can fit in with Brooklyn’s current core and guarantee at least one strong defender to eventually rebuild with.

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