Devin Booker was having the best season of his young career before the NBA shut down. He made his first All-Star team while averaging 26 points per game on a career-best 48 percent shooting from the floor. Booker is also an avid video game player, most predominately Call of Duty. He took some time to chat with The Big Lead about Call of Duty's newest game type, Warzone, his favorite parts about the game, as well as how he felt he improved his game most this season, the toughest defenders on the Suns, whether or not he would ever consider an analyst role post-playing career, and more.
Which part of your game do you feel like you improved most this season?
Devin Booker: I’d say many aspects, but the one that stuck out the most was efficiency levels. Shooting the ball at an efficient rate. I credit the system Coach Monty [Williams] put in and the players that helped me out a lot this year. Having a pass-first, true leader, playoff-experienced point guard in Ricky Rubio helped out a lot. The way Kelly Oubre played until his injury was, I’d say, the best year of his career so far. Deandre Ayton got better. It’s been a really fun season trying to change that reputation that the Suns have.
Out of all your teammates, who's the toughest defender on the Suns?
Booker: I would say Mikal Bridges and probably Kelly. They’re different. We’ve used Mikal in many different situations, guarding a lot of different positions, and Kelly guarded a lot of dominant scorers for us this year. Both of those guys get after it and hold people accountable, so I’d give it to them.
Who is the toughest defender you've gone up against in the NBA?
Booker: In terms of overall defenses, I think some teams have better gameplans for me than others, Denver being one of those. I struggled in all my Denver games this year. Obviously, playing against Kawhi for five years now, he’s physically gifted and dominant on both sides of the ball, so he’s a tough matchup.
If you could pick one basketball announcer to call one of your games, who would it be?
Booker: Well, I know, me personally, I watch basketball differently than others. I turn the sound off. I watch a lot of games just listening to music or chopping it up with my homeboys, so I don’t listen to them like that. Don't have a good answer there.
A lot of former players have taken to broadcasting and analyst roles once their playing careers have finished. Would you consider doing that once you walk off the floor for the last time?
Booker: I don’t think so, honestly. I think some people are built for that, and I watch the game a lot so I know a lot about it. But I’m more of a guest speaker on a podcast. I played with some guys, Jared Dudley for instance, he’s built for that life. He knows this stuff and studies this stuff. Maybe one day, though. I watch the game a lot and I love the game of basketball and obviously want to be around it for the rest of my life.
What was your "Welcome to the NBA" moment?
Booker: I think there’s a couple of them. We call them “I’m really here” moments. One time I pump-faked D-Wade the first time I played against him. I got him in the air, and, you know, he’s one of the best shot-blocking guards in history, if not the best. I got him with the pump fake, took two dribbles to get away, and I swear I didn’t see him. I went to shoot the ball and he got it before I could even go up for my shot. The timing, the awareness, the natural instincts that he had, they were so elevated that I knew I had to work on my game a lot more.
What restaurant do you miss eating at the most while quarantined?
Booker: It’s called Element, it’s at Sanctuary Hotel right there in Paradise Valley, one of my favorite restaurants. Ocean 44 is one of my favorites also. Then Nobu, we just had a Nobu open up recently that I was just getting acquainted with before everything shut down.
What's your Favorite Part of Warzone so far?
Booker: I’d say just the Battle Royale style, honestly. I’ve always been a big fan of Call of Duty. Obviously you see the [other] games go to Battle Royale, it’s something that I always envisioned, playing Battle Royale on Call of Duty. My favorite game thus far. I’ve had a lot of fun with it, I like how it keeps everybody involved with the whole gulag setup. Everything that comes with it, it’s a really good time.
Who would be on your athlete Warzone dream team?
Booker: I’d probably say Meyers Leonard, Ben Simmons, and De’Aaron Fox. That’s my top 3.
Who would be on your E-Sports athlete Warzone dream team?
Booker: I'd probably go with Cloakzy, NadeShot, and FaZe Swagg.
Which professional Call of Duty player do you think you could take one-on-one?
Booker: Honestly, I can’t even do that. They’re at a different level. I’m outside of the athlete’s level. I’m into very serious gaming, but I’m outside the professional level. I can tell by playing with them. That’s what I’m inspired to be, so I’m going to keep getting better.
What's your favorite loadout in Warzone?
Booker: Right now, I’m doing the M-13. At first I was M4, now I got M-13, secondary I use RPG with Ghost, Tuneup… I go M-13 and RPG.
What's your favorite spot to land in Warzone?
Booker: Wherever a good bounty is. I like going straight to a bounty and getting it started early. Kill that first team, get enough money to get our loadouts, and then bounties from there all the way to the final circle.
What's one thing you'd like to see added to Warzone in the future?
Booker: I would like them to nerf the snakeskin akimbo pistols. Just take that out. They don’t need to add anything, just take that out and the game is better.