Devin Booker had a 39-point triple-double in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals as the Phoenix Suns took a 1-0 lead over the Los Angeles Clippers. It was a great game. It was, like many events of this postseason, the kind of thing that inspires overreaction. And this morning Stephen A. Smith went on national television and proclaimed that Booker was the next Kobe Bryant.
This seems like a funny thing to say about a guy in his sixth season. Especially considering he had never been to the playoffs until this spring. Before Chris Paul showed up this year, the Suns had never had a winning record with Booker. Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant was finishing up a three-peat in his sixth season.
Booker's stats match up incredibly well with Kobe's. They are better, even. They were both teenagers in their rookie seasons. Booker pretty much doubled Kobe's minutes, points, rebounds and assists. By Booker's second season he was up to 22 points a game while Kobe was still scoring just 8.7. Through six regular seasons, Booker has averaged 23 points, 4.6 assists and 3.7 rebounds. Kobe averaged 19.8, 3.8 and 4.6. Booker is a better shooter by every metric.
Even if the Suns win the title in a couple weeks, Kobe will still have three times the rings. Of course, he also had Shaq. What if CP3 is Booker's version of Shaq?
This is clearly one of those takes that sounds wild until you sit down and think about it. Booker has a lot of winning to do for anyone to seriously consider it, but as far as being great individual players and scorers, Booker looks the part. He just needs to do it for another decade and a half.