With five former Wildcats in the Suns' backcourt, there isn't enough room for all of them in the starting lineup. Head coach Earl Watson announced yesterday
that Devin Booker will start alongside Eric Bledsoe, in place of Brandon Knight.
“Brandon Knight is not a bench player. He's a starter in this league,” Watson said. “He's sacrificed the most for our group. He took it like the pro he is because he understands the opportunity that we have to be special."
Knight averaged a career-high 19.6 points last season, but injuries limited him to only 52 games. Booker started 44 games while Knight and Bledsoe battled injuries. Booker took advantage of the opportunity, averaging 13.8 points per game en route to First Team All-Rookie honors.
“I knew at one point in my career I'd be a starter," Booker said. "I didn't know it'd be this soon, but I have put in that work to be one.”
In the Suns' preseason debut, Booker outscored all of his Wildcat teammates
. Their stat-lines:
- Devin Booker: 19 points (5/13), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 24 minutes
- Eric Bledsoe: 3 points (1/6), 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 18 minutes
- Brandon Knight: 8 points (3/7), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 17 minutes
- Archie Goodwin: 10 points (3/7), 1 rebound, 2 assists, 12 minutes
- Tyler Ulis: 0 points (0/3), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 13 minutes
How other former Cats fared in their preseason debuts...
-- Rajon Rondo
is already knocking down buzzer-beating fadeaway for his new team.
Those were the only two points Rondo scored, but he did dish out 7 assists, validating Dwyane Wade's statement from last week
: "He's the best point guard I've ever played with."
-- Andrew Harrison
had a fantastic preseason debut for the Memphis Grizzlies. In 19 minutes he scored 11 points (3/6), dished out 6 assists and only one turnover in a winning effort over the Magic. His brother Aaron
made the only shot he took in 10 minutes f play for the Hornets.
-- After missing the last 75 games of the season with a torn labrum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
returned to the court for 24 minutes last night, finishing with 8 points and 5 boards.
-- Trey Lyles
knocked down a couple of threes for the Jazz, finishing with 9 points and 4 rebounds in 20 minutes.
-- Jamal Murray
came off the bench in his first game for the Nuggets. He scored 9 points on 3/5 shooting in 17 minutes of action. The game was against Patrick Patterson's
Raptors. Patterson started played a team-high 22 minutes, finishing with 4 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals.
-- DeMarcus Cousins
will make his preseason debut in a matchup with the Lakers tonight. Before the game, he let his lips loose in an interview. If it was on the radio show, Shannon would have to hit the dump button.
Other former Cats in action tonight: Nerlens, Skal, Trill, the Brow, the Real T. Jones, Julius Randle and John Wall.