Phoenix Suns young gun Devin Booker is having a breakout season in Arizona. The 20-year-old Kentucky product is averaging career-highs in points, minutes, steals, and free-throw attempts for a struggling Suns squad.
In the Western Conference, there’s no shortage of foes that Booker has to tackle on a nightly basis. Golden State Warriors stars Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson; Oklahoma City Thunder MVP candidate Russell Westbrook and Victor Oladipo; Houston Rockets MVP candidate James Harden and Eric Gordon.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Booker said that Portland Trail Blazers guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are the hardest team matchup for him in the league, beating out the likes of the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, and Oklahoma City Thunder.
SI: Who’s been the toughest matchup in the NBA thus far?
Booker: Sheesh. There’s a lot. I’ll say… Dame and CJ. Both of them. Constant motion, they’re always looking to score. And they have great role players around them who understand that they’re the dominant scorer, so they’ll set really good screens for them, and they get a lot of good looks.
If anything, this is a testament to how interesting the relationship has been between the Suns and the Blazers since 2013. The two teams have played each other tough, and had an underground rivalry with each other.
Booker has been a part of that the last two seasons, including a particularly heated Summer League game in 2016 where he dropped 28 points on 11-of-21 shooting.
Recently, Booker had 15 points and 23 points in two games between the Suns and the Blazers in the 2016-17 regular season.