In the dog days of the NBA, a star-studded pickup game is king.
Hoops aficionados will watch anything that has their favorite superstars going at it, whether it's James Harden busting out his new move or Ben Simmons taking and actually making threes.
Recently, a video of Devin Booker getting double-teamed during one of these offseason runs has cause a stir among fans and players alike.
The Phoenix Suns guard is heard saying, "Hey, bro. We're not doubling in an open gym. I get that sh*t all season. Let's work on our game," to which Joakim Noah shot back, "Yeah, we are. It's part of the game."
Netizens were quick to call Booker "soft" for complaining about the double, but some of the current NBA stars are having none of it.
A regular in these summer workouts, Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young got D-Book's back and shared his sentiments on using the loaded pickup games to iron out the kinks of their respective games.
Being on the mend couldn't stop Kevin Durant from defending his fellow scorer with some pretty valid points regarding one-on-one defense and Booker's underrated on-court decision-making. If only he didn't sneak a few cheap shots in between...
Andre Iguodala just had to poke fun at his former teammate.
Ex-pro Gilbert Arenas — who averaged more than 25 points per game in his three seasons as an All-Star — had an altogether different take, saying he relished every challenge of a double team even those in casual ball.
"@dbook from a killer to the future...if u wanna be an all star then ur complaint is correct BUT if u wanna be a superstar...u accept double teams in pickup..u demand double teams in pickup....u should be offended when u don't get double teamed in pickups and the reason is...if u get doubled teamed in the nba how dare some pickup ball cats don't respect ur game enough to double u....u can ask @ricohinesbball in highschool if the college and pro players didn't double me at the UCLA runs that shot was going up...I trained to hard to let 1 defender disrespect my game by guarding me 1 on 1 I didn't care who he thought he was #hibachimentality every time u step on that court u want it game like....THE second picture is my rookie season " I still shot that shit" becuz I've been in that position before (playing 21 with 6 players and u got 20..the whole court trying to stop u at that point) now tap into ur true calling #assassinbook."
For the first time since the clip went viral, Booker gave his side of the story and in his own long-drawn-out reply to Arenas. Apparently, his aversion to this kind of defense during pickup stems from his matchup nightmares when he was younger.
"I feel what u saying Gil, and the only reason I’m responding is because I respect u. But I grew up in a gym/gyms where my pops had me guard 30 yr olds at age 14.. I got scored on 5 straight times on the block.. looked at my pops for help and he had this face on. I didn’t get picked up the rest of the week. So every time I played open gym the rest of my life it’s a eat or be eaten mentality. In games, if teams run and jump double you, USUALLY the right play is pass out immediately, you have 4 on 3 advantage. Not saying I don’t get aggressive sometimes and shoot over it. But making the right play/trust your teammates is winnin hoop. I didn’t want to spend my lovely Tuesday afternoon passing out of a double, I can work on that with the homies at the house. Much respect tho hibachi. Let’s get in the gym at some point."