Booker, Ricky Pierce, Kobe discussed on The Bill Simmons Podcast


One's actually like there's something special about him. What's interesting about Booker, I did a bunch of pods with Durant. I probably did 6 and two years with him. And one of them, he started raving about Booker and Booker wasn't nobody at that point. I mean, he was a lottery pick he was on the suns, but the team stunk. And I think I asked him something like, what young players on your radar? Or do you think might have it? Who might have it under the and he was like, Booker. Went on this thing. You were an exporter. You played for 19 years. You were born too soon. The three point line would have made you probably an extra 100 million bucks. But do you feel like the guys who played, they see something, there's some sort of DNA thing that they can spot that somebody like me couldn't spot. Yeah, you know what you see, Bill as you see a call. You see like, a guy that understands the science of what his craft really is and in regards to dissecting this game and that's the score. He is always on balance. That's one of the first things that I saw with you. That is always unbalanced. And he rarely takes really bad stocks. Like, you know, if you're a score, you're going to take that shot. But if you watch Devin, he rarely does. But what also makes him unique and you agree with this, because I know you remember watching Ricky pierce play. Oh yeah. Is Ricky pierce love to have contact with each other. It was just something about a guy very close to you when you took your shot. And that's Devin. I mean, it's like it forces him to maybe concentrate more. That's why he probably gets into it. But when I saw that and then just the way that he approached the game and how respectful he was of the game. Like a lot of guys aren't respectful of the game. They don't know the history. They don't respect the players that they watch growing up. You know, in Devon has been all of that. He's been, I mean, he's been in my ear since he's been in Phoenix. And that's the value of where he is now. You know, and obviously Kobe took it to a new level when Kobe befriended him. Yeah. And he has just professional, man. He is one of the most professional players I've ever seen and that's why he's I love your contact point. There's like Vinnie Johnson was like that too. He needed to have somebody like basically in his Jersey and that would when he would really get going. There's certain guys that just they feed off that. I think it's something Tatum is learning how that's one of the ways I think he's gotten better this year is beating guys off the dribble and kind of keeping them on his side and knowing how to use that kind of stuff against him. The COVID thing with Booker, you know, they were beating into the ground during the playoffs last year. You know, he's not Kobe. But I think at all the guys we have now, I think there's the most kind of Kobe chromosomes floating in his pool, right? He does stuff, first of all, as you said, the competitiveness and the commitment to the craft and things like that. The fact that he doesn't take terrible shots. Kobe went through that stage, younger Kobe, when he did take turns of shots. That got better as he got older. What are the other similarities? What about like from an alpha dog hanging out in a room standpoint? What is that like? Well, yeah, I mean, he is a loner, so to speak, but this team is very close. So he's opened up now because of that. But I'll just give you something else. Well, he is relentless. Talks a lot of smack. Which I love. I also smack talker. I love that. Yeah, that was your era. Yeah, it keeps guys all balanced. Love it. But also what I love about him is he like I said, he understands now how to lead. Yeah. Like, you know, these guys always open his house. He's always in the middle of them in the midst of them. And now he understands that now that he said 8 positive things to them that it's okay for him to say some negative things. He just understands and give credit to, I think, to his upbringing. Carl's dad raised him as a basketball player. And I think that plays a role in it as well. He's special. I'm not going to say this. And so people understand why I'm pushing him because he is special. He's going to be better. And I think people are having a hard time with it because you know he's 6 four 6 5 and that's the average height in the league. We've seen guys come in the league and they can score and all of that. He has another level to get to. He truly does and he showed it when Chris Paul went down. Yeah. That was 7 cents. People don't think he can pass. He can pass the ball. He can operate in the two man game. It is a level he can get to that people have not seen. Yeah, and even beyond the assist, what impressed me about that stretch was he was kind of game managing. You know, it's one thing to be like, okay, I'm now going to dribble the ball up and I'll throw you the ball, but he actually and Tatum had something he developed to this year, this ability to kind of see what the defense is doing. They're going to play probably Brooklyn and round one. And Brooklyn's just going to trap the shit out of him from 40 feet, right? And I think he's going to be able to solve that as a series goes along because his hoops IQ has just gotten better and better. I see the same with bookers. His feel for the game has gotten that. I'm sorry. I'm so proud of him. Yeah. He knows it. No, he knows he doesn't have to take 25 shots. Right. Like I was trying to tell these young guys, this is the guy that played a role. I started my first four years, but after that, I came off the bench and I made a living at it. And like I tell these young guys, man, it's a science and scorn. You don't have to rush it. If you get the minutes, you will get your numbers. Right. I mean, that's just the beauty of it. And an all time great figure that out. You can go to any old time breakdown score. You will see. If he gets 30 minutes, he's going to get his average because he understands how to do it. Well, ice was the best example of that ever. I think back then when you went to see ice and person, they didn't have the scoreboard with the points..

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