Anytime a young player in the NBA begins to show signs of possible stardom folks are quick to elevate him to superstardom, and then he gets compared to an all-time great.
In a way I guess it’s suppose to put that player’s ceiling and floor into perspective if you let the so-called subject matter experts tell it.
I personally don’t use the word superstar that loosely as it takes a lot more than a couple seasons of putting up numbers or a nice playoff run for that word to be thrown around when discussing a player.
— 🤴🏽 (@KinqHeem) July 12, 2021
You know how you hear Zion Williamson being compared to Charles Barkley and Blake Griffin, when he’s actually much closer to the late Rodney Rogers right now?
I’m not hating, just haven’t seen enough in his entire floor game to compare him to Barkley or Griffin just yet, but hey he’s only 21, so he has plenty of time.
The comparisons of Donovan Mitchell to Dwayne Wade are far fetched too.
They have some similarities but he’s got a long way to go before I even mention him and “DWade” in the same breath.
That leads me to Devin Booker and the late great Kobe Bryant, and these outlandish takes that I’ve been hearing.
First coming from ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith, saying on First Take that “Booker is the next Kobe Bryant.”
Yes Booker is a great young player who has potential to be even better, but have we forgetten just how great the “Black Mamba” was?
There are some similarities in how Booker plays and how a young Kobe played, but the fact that Mamba is one of Books’s biggest influences makes the comparisons understandable — to a degree. From the midrange to the ability to shoot the three.
But again, Kobe could straight raise up or pull-up off the dribble for three, something Booker has gotten better at but still needs work on.
Also how Kobe would attack the rim at will if his jumpshot wasn’t falling. Booker doesn’t do that just yet.
The two most impressive factors about Booker compared to Kobe are his footwork and clutch factor.
The latter of those is eerily reminiscent of Kobe as he does a good job of continuously getting into his shots in the clutch in the most Kobe-esque way.
He also knocks them down at a solid clip as well.
NBA star CJ McCollum shares the same sentiments that I do about the comparison, and he even had this to say about it on his podcast.
“I’m a huge Devin Booker fan. But I think it’s a little premature to call him the next Kobe. I think you need to allow to continue to solidify who he is, because he is a special player in his own right and to compare him to Kobe is an unjust and unfair situation that you’re putting him in.”
I mean he scored 10 points last night on (3-14 shooting and 1-7 from three) in a crucial Game 3 loss and looked bothered by the lack of calls.
Some fans blamed Booker’s outfit for his poor performance.
— 🤴🏽 (@KinqHeem) July 12, 2021
That type of trolling comes with the territory.
I didn’t see a willingness to sacrifice his body when the jump shots weren’t falling, in an attempt to get himself to the free-throw line to find a rhythm.
I know it’s only one game and the Suns still lead the series, but I can’t remember a playoff game where Kobe didn’t put his fingerprints on it at some point.
Even during the four-airball game in Utah back in 1997, Kobe was pivotal in helping get them within striking distance before the misfortunes.
It’s no different than folks comparing Ben Simmons to LeBron. Hell, even Kobe being compared to MJ was a bit too much, even though Bryant came close.
In all fairness however, Booker has been dealing with monumental responsibilities with ease.
He’s been having 30, 40 points nights with regularity in his first playoff run, including monster close out games against the Lakers and Nuggets where he scored 47 and 34 points respectfully.
But again it’s just his first rodeo through the rigors of the NBA postseason, but keep in mind Kobe did this at will, year-in-and-year-out.