Welcome one, welcome all!
I am counting down the top 10 Jazz players for next season by my rankings for the next couple weeks. Today we are on #9. but first let's show the list so far:
#14. Dee Bost
#13. Carrick Felix
#12. Steve Novak
#11. Ian Clark
Today's article will be about my projected 9th best player on the Jazz this season, the big cereal-loving new-to-the-Jazz dude:
#9. Trevor Booker, 5th season, 26 years old, 6'7", 240 Lbs, PF
Picture Source: blogimages.thescore.com
Trevor Booker is our best free agent acquisition this offseason. In fact, he may end up being our best non-draft-related acquisition since the D-Will trade which netted us Favors. His only competition for this title is Marvin Williams, Richard Jefferson, and Mo Williams (Case #2938458 of why the Jazz cannot build a team through free agency, just drafts and trades).
He was in the 2010 draft (aka the Favors, Hayward, Evans draft), drafted 23rd overall out of Clemson University. What's funny is that this 23rd pick was owned originally by the Jazz but was traded to the 76ers in the Kyle Korver trade back in the 2007-08 season. So maybe fate had it in store for the Jazz and Booker to reunite one day, and it became so.
Clemson is a moderately successful university for producing NBA-level talent, they have had 10 players play an NBA game since 2000 (including Horace Grant and Dale Davis). As a freshman, Booker started but was the lowest scoring starter. However, he already led the team in win shares as a freshman, mainly due to his defensive contributions.
His sophomore year, he nearly was 2nd in the team in scoring, and still led the team in win shares, blocks, and rebounds.
His junior and senior years are when he began to shine, carrying the team while (in his senior year) being 1st in scoring, rebounding, win shares, and PER.
He then came into the league and began his career for the Wizards, where he would play for his first 4 seasons before signing with us this summer.
On the Wizards in his rookie year, he had very identical stats to Yi Jianlian on his team. He had averages of 16.4 MPG, 5.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG.
In his 2nd season he got a bump in minutes to 25.2 per game, and his production scaled up accordingly, averaging 8.4 PPG and 6.5 RPG. This was statistically his best season (per-game-wise), mainly due to the fact he received the most minutes this season. Okafor and Gortat got put ahead of him in the depth chart in his 3rd and 4th seasons, respectively.
His per 36 minutes stats is probably the most level I've ever seen for a player for their whole career, here take a look for yourself:
Booker's Per 36 Minutes Stats
This indicates to me that Booker has not improved at all in his NBA career. But luckily this plateau that he's been at is still at a decent NBA player's level. What you see is what you get, Booker's role thus far in his NBA-career is as a 3rd/4th big man, and I believe this will continue to be his role on the Jazz (unless Evans ends up outperforming him, I would put the chances of that happening a little bit below 50:50).
What to Expect This Season:
Trevor Booker signed a 2-year, $5 million per year contract, with the 2nd year being essentially a de facto non-guaranteed contract of only $50,000 or so guaranteed.
Booker is getting paid the 4th most money on the Jazz next season, behind only Hayward, Favors, and Kanter. This reason alone could be enough to convince me that Booker has the edge over Evans as the team's backup bigman.
I don't think Dennis Lindsey would have shelled out $5 Million in cash for the team's 3rd string power forward, so I believe his thinking which hopefully coincides with Coach Snyder will lead to Booker being the backup Power Forward on this Jazz team from day 1. And who knows, if Booker is hustling out of his mind in training camp and preseason, he may just earn himself a starting spot on this Jazz team (don't bet on this).
From all the research that I've done on Booker, the general consensus of the level of player that Booker is happens to be a 3rd big man on a team.
Booker can, for all intents and purposes, be summed up as:
This is no knock on Booker, but more of a compliment. Millsap was an all star last year, and could have been a multiple-time all star already if he played in the Eastern conference prior to last season.
Booker is a blue-collar hustler who will scrap for rebounds and pay more attention to details on the defensive end compared to the offensive end. He could give us just the grit and fire the team needs, especially off the bench.
This man is pure passion and hustle, picture DeMarre Carroll in an undersized Power Forward's body.
I am ranking Booker at 9th because I think our roster is just that good. That being said, I acknowledge that this is Booker's floor, he could very well perform at a level to be a top 5 player on this team this season, we shall see.
My official predictions for Booker's stats this upcoming season for the Jazz:
Booker has had a very steady career through 4 seasons, and with him being at age 27 now I would bet on his career remaining steady this season as well. Expect a passionate, defensively-focused hustle powerhouse out of Booker. But be wary that he is undersized at 6'7" at Power Forward and he also sports a poor career free throw average of 61.7%.
Due to the nature of Booker's expiring contract I can see him being held in the air as trade-bait by Lindsey if he comes out this season firing on all cylinders. Will Booker, draft picks, along with 1 of our team's solid youthful players be enough for a team to trade us a star. Time will tell.
I anticipate all of Jazz fans enjoying Booker's style of play this season. He will most likely be coming off the bench behind our team's starting power forward, regardless of whether that be Favors or Kanter.
If he is teamed up with Gobert in the 2nd unit, that is going to be a solid defense/hustle pairing in the frontcourt, hopefully terrorizing all those who dare enter the paint with them.
Expect modest stats from him in the 7 point, 5 rebound ballpark if he plays his expected 20 minutes per game. Cherish this man for his hustle and passion, not his actual on paper numbers.
Chance of him being with the team in the 2015-2016 season: