The first time Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker got the better of a Splash Bro on a grand stage was during 2018 All-Star weekend, when he went toe-to-toe with Klay Thompson in the 3PT Shootout competition.
Booker stepped into the spotlight by breaking Thompson and Stephen Curry’s then-record of 27 shots in one round, nailing 28 shots and taking the crown that night.
Thompson’s Warriors would go onto win their second title in a row that season, while Booker’s Suns would go into the lottery with 21 wins. But that night on All-Star weekend fanned the flames of Booker being compared to Thompson since entering the league in 2015.
Check this excerpt from NBA.com breathlessly proclaiming Booker had the potential to be a better player than Golden State’s younger Splash Bro:
Looking around the league, Booker has the same skill-set and size as another star at his position, Golden State Warriors sharp-shooter Klay Thompson. Booker actually has a legitimate chance to be a better overall player than Thompson, meaning that the sky is truly the limit for the dynamic shooter in Phoenix.
While Thompson is one of the greatest jumpshooters in the league and may go down as one of the best 3-point marksmen in NBA history, Booker has the potential to be equally potent from outside while also adding more in the box score by way of assists and rebounds. Thompson has diversified his scoring game in recent years by scoring off the dribble and creating his own shot, but he still lacks any other kind of production out of the scoring column.
We saw what Thompson did alongside a hall-of-fame point guard in his first trip to the NBA Finals: he won over LeBron James’ Cavaliers. We also saw what Booker did alongside a hall-of-fame point guard in his first trip to the Finals: he lost to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Bucks despite holding a 2-0 lead. Booker has a long way to go to reach the levels we’ve seen Thompson rise to, year after year.
Booker will have a chance to prove some more of who he is as a hooper against the Warriors Tuesday night, who won’t have Thompson on the court. But if we know anything about Thompson, it’s that he’s itching to get back on the floor to remind us that he’s often imitated, never duplicated.
Newest Santa Cruz Warrior Klay Thompson getting up shots at practice. pic.twitter.com/E1kqMkG0Xt— Kevin Danna (@kevo408) November 29, 2021
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