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LA Lakers coach reserves high praise for Devin Booker: "He's been a pleasure to watch and a nightmare to play against"

New York Knicks v Phoenix Suns
Devin Booker in action during an NBA game

LA Lakers coach Darvin Ham reserved high praise for Phoenix Suns All-Star Devin Booker. Ham spoke about Booker on the eve of his team's road game against the Suns. He revealed he had a pre-draft dinner with the shooting guard in 2015, and the Hawks, where Ham was an assistant coach at the time, and was impressed with Booker's confidence.

Here's what the Lakers' rookie coach said (via Duane Rankin):

"I've always been a big fan of Book. We had dinner with him... When he was coming out of school, when we were in Atlanta. Myself, coach Bud... Just a confident kid, he loves the game, loves adding to his game, and he's done that.
"Unbelievable opponent. Got to see him in the finals a couple years ago with Milwaukee. He's just continued to grow, mature, get stronger... Someone swooped in before our pick and got him. He's been a pleasure to watch and a nightmare to play against."
"Can't remember what the restaurant was, but just a confident kid." Darvin Ham on dinner with Devin Booker before 2015 draft when he was an assistant in Atlanta."Someone swooped in before our pick and got him."#Suns got Booker 13th. #Hawks took Kelly Oubre Jr. 15th. #Lakers https://t.co/cycKEakA1A

Ham had the opportunity to see Booker on the opposition team during their maiden finals run in 2021 with the Bucks and Suns, respectively. The All-Star guard caused plenty of problems for Milwaukee. He averaged 28.2 points, 4.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds during that six-game series, which the Bucks won 4-2.

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Also read: “He’s going to be one of the best 2-guards in this league” - When Klay Thompson gushed about 19-year-old Devin Booker and predicted his rise to the top

Devin Booker comes up big in home win over Darvin Ham's LA Lakers

Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns scripted a 115-105 home win over Darvin Ham's LA Lakers on Tuesday. Booker led the Suns' charge scoring a team-high 25 points. Booker kept the Suns in the game throughout the contest, scoring 13 in the first half and 12 in the second.

It was a vital effort, as the Suns were without Booker's backcourt partner Chris Paul. The Lakers were also on a three-game winning streak and had momentum on their side. Anthony Davis continued his fine form bagging 37 points, 21 rebounds, five steals and blocks apiece, so Booker's performance proved crucial in the grand scheme of things.

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Devin Booker and Co. have extended their winning streak to eight games, including playoffs and regular season over the Lakers, a franchise record. The Suns improved to 11-6 on the year, which sees them go atop the Western Conference standings.

The final seedings will matter towards the end of the season as both conferences have legitimate contending teams. Homecourt advantage will be detrimental in the postseason.

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Edited by Arhaan Raje
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