Phoenix Suns swingman Devin Booker was not voted as an NBA All-Star.
In a recent conversation with retired NBA vet Tim Thomas, I discussed Booker as well as future Los Angeles Lakers Naismith Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant and Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Check out a snippet from our chat below:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: We’re here at the NJHS Hoops Showcase. The Tim Thomas New Jersey Showcase. At East Orange campus on East Orange high school in New Jersey … You talked about Kobe. You went to Villanova. Lower Merion High School is right down the street from ‘Nova [literally]. What was Kobe’s game like? Did he have that killer mentality that everyone talks about now, did he have that in high school?
Tim Thomas: Yeah. It’s funny that you say that. I went to ‘Nova, I used to live about 10 minutes away from Kobe’s mom when they were in Brynn Mawr. So I always see her in the grocery store and ask about Kobe and his family. Yeah, Kobe always had that ‘IT’ factor. He always wanted to lead by example and go out and prove people wrong and he had a hell of a career. He’s going to go down as probably one of the best two-guards in the game.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: The Milwaukee Bucks took care of business last week against the Los Angeles Lakers. Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing lights out. Two-part question: Does that team remind you of the Bucks team that you played for and how much does Milwaukee help his focus playing basketball?
Tim Thomas: Oooohhh wow, see a lot of people think it’s really nothing to do in Milwaukee, but it’s a city that’s growing. It’s a small city, but it’s a city that’s growing. Focus wise, I think that he’s determined to get better each and every day. I mean you just see the way that he works and his game is showing it. And now he has a jump shot which is scary for a guy that’s 6’11” being able to handle the ball, being able to post it, and he’s shooting a little bit and it’s becoming almost a nightmare to say a little bit. He’s going to in the race each and every year for MVP and whatever team he’s on, he’s going to put them in position to go deep in the playoffs.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Now my previous question I know I asked you a two-part question, do they remind you or do you get flashbacks of playing with the Bucks when you see the current Bucks play?
Tim Thomas: No because we had more talent on that team. You think about it. Sam Cassell, Ray Allen, Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson, and I was the puppy. I was the first sub off the bench and George Karl allowed me to play one through five. So I just think that team at that particular time had more talent. The one thing that I love that we didn’t do more of when I was with the Bucks, the Bucks now play as a team. We were more of the individuals type thing and it kind of hurt us a little bit. But this Bucks team plays more as a team as a unit. I think if we would’ve did that more, we would’ve been one of those teams that could’ve been to the Finals a few times with that run we had.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Who are the teams that you are interested in that get you excited? I know you’re excited to see every team play in your basketball tournament, but what teams are you really looking forward to seeing between now and Monday?
Tim Thomas: Every game is different. I just love watching the game, I love seeing the young kids develop. I’m really into watching the coaches and seeing how they adjust throughout the game; I know most of these guys so it’s exciting to me overall. I just love the game. It’s not one particular team that I’m here to see and pinpoint and watch. Of course the local teams. Any teams from Patterson and the Patterson girls, Eastside’s team won today, so that was a nice thing for me today. I just love watching the game man. I’m excited to have these kids come out and compete and perform on this stage.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What do you think of Villanova basketball so far this season?
Tim Thomas: They’re young but, they had a big win against Kansas the other day, I missed that game, Jay [Wright] is just a mastermind. He’s gonna get those guys right. They’ll make a nice run in the tournament, I don’t think they’ll go too deep but they’ll make a nice run. Just being inexperienced will kill them later on but I see them competing for the Big East Championship and making a nice run.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You also played for the Phoenix Suns. Devin Booker –
Tim Thomas: He’s a monster. He’s a monster. I like that kid….
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Does their fast start in the first quarter of the season shock you?
Tim Thomas: No because those guys are getting older now. They have a little bit more experience and they’re out in the West. They know if they get off to a slow start, it’s going to be curtains for ‘em before All-Star break. But those guys are gaining experience and they want to get better and want to go to the playoffs and that’s what it’s about. We gotta start somewhere and they have a great leader Devin Booker. I like that kid because he plays hard each and every possession.