Player Profile: Trevor Booker

Next up in our Player Profiles is fan favorite, Trevor Booker.

William Stokes and Tom Glasgow joined me to analyze “Cook Book”.

Kevin Hine

Let me to start off by saying that I’m hardly objective when it comes to Trevor Booker; I love him. But I’ll try my best to be unbiased.

This season Trevor Booker’s minutes, points, and rebounds per game all improved, and we saw “Cook Book” improve his mid-range jumper. It was a very good season for the lovable Trevor Booker. However, he missed the final month of the season for the second time in as many years, this time due to plantar fasciitis. But I won’t hold any “injury-prone” concerns against him. I just don’t think they’re legitimate.  The only thing keeping me from giving him an “A” grade is his free-throw percentage. So I’ll give him a B+.

As a second-year player his free-throw percentage dropped from 67.3% as a rookie to 60.2% this season. Given his improvements in his mid-range game, you’d have to think improvements from the free-throw line are right around the corner for Trevor. That low percentage from the line is a concern, but I’m confident it will improve.

Going forward I’m extremely excited about Booker. Back in March, James Straton wrote a great piece on Trevor Booker and what his ceiling is. One comparison he made — and one that I agree with — is Udonis Haslem.

Whether or not Booker is a long-term starter, I don’t know, but to be honest, it doesn’t matter to me.

With the development of Kevin Seraphin and Jan Vesely, and the acquisition of Nene, there’s no pressure on Booker to be a starter. And to be honest I think his best fit is as a high-energy forward off the bench right now anyway.

Either way he’s a vital piece on this roster and he’s a player that can be a contributor on a contending Wizards team in the future.

William Stokes

Trevor Booker was one of the few bright spots during the Wizards’ season. He was one of the most consistent players throughout the season and showed a huge improvement from last year. Out of Wizards that played at least 50 games, Booker led the team in defensive efficiency and was in the top three in both blocks and steals, and anyone watching Wizards games could see the effectiveness of his defense.

The decrease of his shooting percentage by 1.8-percent is a bit of a red herring because it was clearly a result of the diversification of his offensive game. He remains a fantastic finisher, converting 72% around the rim. He improved his jumper tremendously. He went from converting on 18% of his shots from 16 to 23 feet away from the basket to converting on 34% this year. On a Wizards team sorely lacking for shooters, Booker provided the mid-range support that they needed.

But the most important thing Booker brings to the team is his constant motor. He never stopped playing hard, even when the losing culture and lack of discipline would have given him every excuse to mentally check out. When the Wizards came back from down 21 to beat the Lakers in one of their signature wins of the year, Booker was the driving factor with the second highest plus-minus on the team and easily the most well-rounded stat sheet of the game with 18 points and 17 rebounds.

Booker’s improvement this year has some comparing him to Udonis Haslem. I really hope this is true and Booker develops into a player of his caliber, but he definitely has weaknesses in his second year that Haslem did not. Booker regressed from his rookie year totals in FT% and TOV%. The decrease in FT% is particularly troubling because his focus on an inside game means he goes to the line a lot. Booker went to the line the third most of all Wizards, but was 15th in FT% on the team. If Booker improves his FT% this offseason, he will become much more dangerous. Also, while Booker improved his jump shot this season, it still hasn’t reached Haslem levels of effectiveness. He needs to improve his jump shot a bit more while taking more of them away from the hoop to open up space.

Next year is a critical year for Booker. He definitely greatly improved this year, but next year will be key to see whether he can be a starter. If he can markedly improve his jump shot this off-season, the Wizards could find themselves with a frontcourt of Nene and Booker who can space the floor with a mid-range shot to make up for a lack of outside shooting at the guard positions. If he only shows marginal improvement, the Wizards should look to either the Seraphin or Vesely as their long term starter at the power forward spot. That said, Booker’s improved jumper and constant energy overwhelms most of his negatives this season. When the Wizards become competitive again, they will need someone who thrives in crunch time and never stops playing no matter the deficit. And regardless of whether he starts or not, someone with Booker’s energy and intensity will be an important part of this team going forward.

Grade for this season: B+

Tommy Glasgow

There’s a reason why Trevor Booker cemented himself as a fan favorite this year. His non-stop motor, intensity and physicality are just infectious whenever he’s on the floor. I mean how could you not love a guy who put up 18 points and 17 rebounds in a victory over the Lakers and then gives an interview with blood running down his face? Fans were clamoring for him to be put into the starting lineup early on because his attitude is in such stark contrast to the soft and jovial demeanor of Blatche, Young, and McGee.

When “Cook Book” was eventually named a starter, he didn’t disappoint. He showcased a sweet mid-range jumper that was honed all summer and made him a great pick-and-pop compliment to Wall. Plus, with increased minutes we got to see nearly twice as many hard picks and left-handed slams from our favorite undersized power forward. In many ways Trevor embodies the type of team the Wizards seem to be developing: a team-first group of young men who will hustle on defense and kill you in transition offensively.

Unfortunately, Booker must have come down a little too hard on that left foot following some put-back slams. It’s a shame that his plantar fascitis hit when it did because it prevented us from really evaluating how he performs next to Nene. The two played just four games together all season; which left some unanswered questions. Can two undersized guys coexist on the front line for Washington? Where does Seraphin fit in? Who’s going to snag the rebounds?

Whether his role next year is coming off the bench or imposing his will from the game’s onset, Booker will continue to bring the same toughness every game. I want to give Cook Book higher marks but I cant look past the big chunk of games he missed to conclude the season. Trevor gets a solid “B” for Booker.

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