DenizBank Signature Moves: Devin Booker

Jul 14, 2020 by Euroleague.net Print
DenizBank Signature Moves: Devin Booker

It is more and more important for elite centers to be able to do a little bit of everything, and Devin Booker has adjusted his game to become one of the best big men in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. Booker has extended his shooting range beyond the three-point line, runs the floor like a guard and used his good hands to finish around the rim as fast as possible. But, there is one particular skill that turns big men into deadly weapons on offense: mastering the pick-and-roll situation to get an advantage and finish strong at the hoop, often with a dunk. It's is a hard-to-guard play when executed correctly, and if it ends in an alley-oop dunk, that gives your team energy and gets the crowd involved in home games. Booker is one of the greatest alley-oop finishers in the EuroLeague right now, and Khimki Moscow Region fans love it.

Booker has excelled at setting strong screens, which is the basic skill with which to start a pick-and-roll. A strong, hard screen forces the perimeter player's defender to stay behind, allowing your teammate – usually the point guard – to get an advantage with which to create, for himself and others, while his defender is caught behind the screen. Booker has a sixth sense to detect that and immediately rolls to the basket once the screen has been effective. In order to be a good alley-oop finisher, you need a special connection with your point guards, too. The fact that Stefan Jovic and Alexey Shved are great passers off pick-and-roll situations definitely helps Booker. He has great jumping skills and unbelievable timing, which allows him to get the ball as high as possible and detonate the dunk, the highest percentage shot in basketball.

It is no surprise that Booker, an alley-oop maestro and a much-improved mid-range shooter, has had solid shooting percentages throughout his career. During the incomplete 2019-20 season, Booker improved his accuracy from all distances. He hit 58.2% of his shots inside the arc, 37.5% from downtown and 61.1% from the foul line with FC Bayern Munich in the 2018-19 campaign, his first in the EuroLeague. Last season, Booker raised those numbers to 62.4% two-pointers, 45.9% three-pointers and 85.1% free throws, showing he can be effective in pick-and-pop situations, too. He ranked third in two-point percentage in players who made at least 100 shots, trailing only Tibor Pleiss (64.6%, 115 made) and Kyle Hines (63.6%, 103 made). In two 7DAYS EuroCup seasons with Bayern, Booker hit 180 two-point shots, more than anyone else in those two campaigns, with excellent effectiveness (62.3%). Being one of the best alley-oop finishers in Europe definitely helps, and at age 29, fans can expect to be thrilled with more his great dunks in the upcoming prime of his career.