Joakim Noah is right.
Double teams are part of the game — and something Devin Booker has and will continue to face while playing for the Phoenix Suns.
So even though Booker got frustrated by it during an open gym, Noah, the 12-year NBA veteran, was on point.
Booker: “Hey bro, we’re not doubling in the open gym, bro.”
Noah: “Yeah we are.”
Booker: “I get that s—t all season, bro.”
Noah (with hands on his hips): “Yeah we are.”
Booker: “Come on, let’s work on our game, bro.”
Noah: “Yeah we are.”
Booker: “Let’s work on our game.”
Noah: “It’s part of the game.”
Booker: “Running double in an open gym?”
I haven’t been in enough open gyms to even say whether it’s common or not, but based on Booker’s reaction, it isn’t.
Then again, Noah, comes from a different era and clearly sees things differently.
Booker later tweeted how he was working 30 minutes on passing out of double teams with his father, former NBA player Melvin Booker.
So the 22-year old who is entering his fifth NBA season acknowledged working on it, but took issue with being double teamed in “an open gym.”
The pass took him from the mid-post to catching the ball near the 3-point line. That probably factored into him being put in that uncomfortable position.
Booker can be a force in the low or mid-post, but he must continue to work on passing out of that area as that will benefit the team.
This has led to Twitter having a field day on this. He’s got people calling him soft, but Booker has his share of supporters who are going to ride or die with him.
Listen, the double teams are going to continue. Booker knows this.
He’s Phoenix’s best player, was the primary ball handler last season and no team is going to allow such a great offensive player to play 1-on-1.
So even though it was in an open gym, Booker needs continual practice at handling two bodies coming at him. Yes, he sees it all season, but he’ll continue to see it.
Second, Booker was hit or miss when doubled last season.
At times, he’d continue to back up and allow the double to consume him to the point it led to a turnover or a bad offensive possession.
That contributed to the 4.2 turnovers a game.
When Booker made the right play or a quick play out of the double, it often led to an open shot for an opponent.
That factored into him averaging a career high 6.8 assists per game.
Twitter drama aside, what is new head coach Monty Williams and the Suns going to do to reduce the number of double teams Booker faces.
The Suns hope Ricky Rubio is a major part of the answer.
With Rubio being the primary ball handler, Booker can play off the ball more, work off screens and have more catch-and-shoot opportunities.
When he’s in an isolation or in a pick-and-roll situation, the trap will come.
The challenge for Booker is to make the correct play more consistently. That requires him to trust the system and his teammates. The latter has become harder for Booker to do because the Suns have been one of the NBA’s worst teams.
So Booker and the Suns need to work together to handle the double.
As talented as Booker is, he’s still in the growing phase of his game. So there’s nothing wrong with Noah challenging him, even if it is in an open gym.
The better Booker handles the double, the better he and the Suns should be.
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