Devin Booker’s Teammate Reveals How Suns, Deandre Ayton Have Developed

Getty Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton.

It’s a luxury when an NBA team has a guard and big man tandem.

Taking a cursory look around the National Basketball Association, the Philadelphia 76ers have that in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

The Los Angeles Lakers techinically have that in Anthony Davis and LeBron James. “I didn’t think we were going to be able to connect as fast,” Anthony Davis told me in November.

“He [LeBron James] made a joke [and said]: ‘We’re not peanut butter and jelly right now, we’re like peanut butter and bananas.’ So we’re getting there. We’re constantly getting there game by game.”

The Phoenix Suns also have it in DeAndre Ayton and Davin Booker. Ayton said he saw he and Booker as a newer version of Shaq and Kobe.

Jamal Crawford was Ayton and Booker’s teammate last season when the three were all members of the Phoenix Suns.

Appearing on the Scoop B Radio Podcast, Crawford told me how he’s watched Ayton and Booker.

Notes from our conversation are below: 

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You are like the last of the Mohicans. You see Joakim Noah get signed, Carmelo Anthony… you are kind of like a sitting duck. That’s not a bad thing. I think from interviews that I see you do, like on Sportscenter the other day, and you talked about the time spent with your family. In this process of you figuring out your next move, what have you learned about yourself?

Jamal Crawford: I already knew I had patience and now I guess I’m working on in that area even more. For me, everybody that knows me knows that my whole life especially hoopin’, involves all that. I can’t worry about it. Even though that I’m not paying, people can see that I’m hoopin’ somewhere every day. My family they know for two hours a day, that’s where I’m away from everything, I’m just locked in to just hoopin’… so that part, has never left. Even though I’m not hoopin’ in front of people right now, I’m still hoopin’ anywhere and everywhere. I’m working on different things and doing different things. As for the family aspect, after L.A., that was the first time that we actually were separate. We were in L.A. together for the whole time, we were in Minnesota together the whole time. Everywhere we’ve been, we were together. So with me signing with Phoenix eight days before the season, you know life’s back on. Get the kids registered for school…all those things. When the call came, I didn’t want to take them out of their routine and habits and getting comfortable and getting settled with school and have my wife do it all by herself. So it’s a long season just from that aspect. The fact that she has to be by herself and deal with everything all day. So every week last year I flew home every off day. And for all those that know me I hate flying. I would fly back to see my family and help out and fly back that night. You know I would only be there for a couple hours but that was the sacrifice that I had to make to hoop.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Jamal you talked about the Phoenix Suns. I checked you out in Brooklyn. I think you guys were on a back to back, that was back in December when you guys played; and you got more point guard duties in that game. When I looked at your skill set out there on the floor with that young Phoenix Suns team, number one: I saw a mentor. Number two: I also saw a guy on – you reminded me of the Chicago days during your stint in Chicago when you played a lot more point guard. Am I right in that assessment? What was going on last season?

Jamal Crawford: You’re right. I actually played a lot of point guard. That actually became my role and for me, that’s not what I envisioned going in there. And that’s ok. That’s just another challenge, right? It’s just another way to help out. It was to focus on whatever the situation allows me to be. Last year it was doing a lot more playmaking even though I’m not a point guard by nature, but I was being in different situations, seeing different situations they felt comfortable with me trying orchestrate and make plays – and for me, it’s like ok, it’s a different talent. It’ll make me handle the ball a lot more and it’ll set people up a lot more. With that I’m not as focused on my own scoring and people were saying that my scoring was down …if they look, I still take my shots in the game, I wasn’t even trying to score. I was trying to set people up in the midst of that. So with that, I averaged more assists than I did in the last five or six years and I took great pride in that. I had the reputation that I’m only a scorer and now I can also set up my teammates and any of those guys the Bookers, the Oubres, the DeAndre Aytons… ask any of those guys about how I helped them and they’ll tell you. T.J. Warren on and off the floor. But especially like sacrificing and I watched them in that regard and I watched them develop and that was dope.


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