Devin Booker on Suns: ‘It’s winning time’

Devin Booker signed a five-year extension this summer.

After signing a five-year max extension with the Phoenix Suns this summer, Devin Booker is ready to be the face of the franchise and says it’s time for the team to win some games.

Booker averaged 24.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists this past season, shooting 43.2 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from three. The Suns, however, only won 21 games and had the worst record in the NBA. Phoenix’s putrid season netted them the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft and the organization selected Arizona’s Deandre Ayton.

“It’s winning time,” Booker said on the “Reiter’s Block” on CBS Sports HQ. “With that contract, and even before the contract, I felt that pressure to succeed for the city and the franchise. They took a chance on me to be that [max] guy, I know it comes with a lot of leadership and responsibility, but I think I’m built for it. I’m looking forward to next year a lot, with the additions to the team, we’re in much better shape to have a much better season.”

Along with adding Ayton, the Suns also drafted Villanova’s Mikal Bridges and signed veteran small forward Trevor Ariza in free agency. The additions have Booker optimistic about the Suns’ future.

“We’re in the best shape we’ve been in since I’ve been a part of the franchise,” Booker said. “With the trades we’ve made, and with Deandre. He had an unbelievable summer league, playing the right way, not forcing it, was still dominating on both sides of the floor. He’ll be the down force threat we need to open up space for everybody else.”

The Suns are unlikely to compete for a playoff spot in the rugged Western Conference. They still have a fairly young roster and are being led by a rookie coach, Igor Kokoškov. Phoenix, though, should win more than 21 games in 2018-19 and is on the right path.