Ex-Cats

Hot-shooting Devin Booker starts NBA season 15-for-21 from 3-point range

The Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker went up for a shot against the Chicago Bulls’ Taj Gibson during the second half. Phoenix won 103-101.
The Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker went up for a shot against the Chicago Bulls’ Taj Gibson during the second half. Phoenix won 103-101. Associated Press

So far, shot selection hasn’t been a problem for former University of Kentucky star Devin Booker.

The Phoenix Suns rookie has started the season 15-for-21 (71.4 percent) from three-point range, which leads the NBA for players with 20 or more attempts.

According to a report on the team’s website, his shooting efficiency made him the lead option when Phoenix needed a basket late in Monday’s game, which the Suns won 103-101 in Chicago.

“He’s not fearful of the moment,” Hornacek said of Booker. “Last night we draw up a play when we’re down five or six for him to get a shot off and he drills a three and gets us right back into the game.”

Booker told the Arizona Republic that he was surprised that Hornacek chose him to take that shot.

“It kind of reminds me of Kentucky,” Booker said. “Coach Cal (John Calipari) believed in you just as much as you believed in yourself. Whatever you wanted to be, that’s what he wanted you to be. I had that feeling of flashback when he (Hornacek) put me in at that crucial time.”

Booker played a career-high 33 minutes on Monday. He finished with 14 points, five assists, three rebounds, one steal and just one turnover. He was 6-for-10 from the field including making the only three-pointer he attempted.

“For the most part, he’s playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played,” Hornacek said in the Suns.com report. “It’s not about just jacking up the first shot you can. It’s about making a play. If it’s the right shot, take it. If it’s not, take a dribble in there and see if you can pass to someone else.”

Overall, Booker is averaging 6.1 points (11th among rookies), 1.3 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 18 games this season. He’s shooting 53.2 percent from the field and 75 percent from the free-throw line.

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