Trevor Booker signed a two-year, $18.5 million deal in Brooklyn, where he is likely to start after the departure of Thaddeus Young. His fit alongside Brook Lopez is nearly perfect, and while he won't stand out in the box score he may play a huge role in Brooklyn next season.
After trading Thaddeus Young to the Indiana Pacers for the 20th draft pick that became Caris LeVert, the Nets were left with a hole in their depth chart at power forward.
They responded by signing three players who play primarily at the 4: Trevor Booker, Luis Scola, and Anthony Bennett.
Given that Bennett is trying to revive his NBA career and Scola is 36, it would seem that the Nets are looking at Booker as their starting power forward. Chris McCullough may challenge him for minutes, but the second-year forward is too raw to be a full-time starter, especially to start the season. Thus, Trevor Booker will probably be Brook Lopez's partner in the Brooklyn frontcourt.
While Booker doesn't have much offensive punch, his defensive prowess, and strong rebounding from the 4 spot make him a nearly perfect frontcourt partner for Lopez.
Trevor Booker is a great athlete who uses his foot speed and leaping ability to make up for a relative lack of height at the power forward position. While he doesn't have much of an offensive game to speak of, he will occasionally explode for a roof-raising dunk:
Booker knows his strengths on offense and doesn't take many bad shots. A whopping 65% of his field goal attempts last season came from the restricted area, where he shot a very solid 61%, according to NBA.com shot-tracking data.
While Booker has essentially no mid-range game to speak of and not much of a jump shot (he shot a paltry 22% from mid-range and 29% from behind the arc), he will be playing alongside one of the league's best jump-shooting centers in Brook Lopez. The combination of Jeremy Lin and Lopez will be responsible for much of the offense among Brooklyn's starters, and Booker will get a lot of opportunities from cutting to the lane behind Lopez-Lin pick and rolls.
Booker shot a remarkable 85.7% on cuts to the rim last season; the sample size for his cuts is admittedly small, but there will certainly be room for him to run into the lane as defenses focus on the far more dangerous Lopez.
Trevor Booker's main value to the Nets next season will be on the defensive end of the floor. He doesn't gamble often and is rarely caught ball-watching. He manages to slither around screens effectively, and his decent foot speed for his size will help him hedge on screens and allow Lopez to remain close to the rim--Lopez's greatest defensive weakness is his relative lack of foot speed and inability to defend on the perimeter, and Booker is more than capable of covering for him in that regard.
Opponents shot 4% worse than their average when defended by Booker, and his defensive shot chart show that he can cover the floor and jump out to shooters--particularly in the mid-range game:
Just as his offensive game complements Brook Lopez, Booker is a nearly perfect frontcourt partner for Lopez defensively. The only areas of the floor that Booker does not defend at an above-average level are the left and right corners, where the sample size for opponent's shots is pretty small.
Other than that, the area that Booker's opponents are the closest to average is right around the rim, where Lopez is an effective deterrent.
Trevor Booker is also a strong rebounder for a power forward, which will certainly help cover Lopez's deficiencies in that regard. Booker ranked 28th out of 258 forwards in rebounding percentage according to NBA.com's stats page. Similarly to his effort on the defensive end, he is rarely out of position and his effort on the glass is never lacking.
He was particularly impressive on the offensive glass, where he ranked 15th overall in offensive rebounding percentage. Pairing him with a strong finisher in Lopez will give him plenty of easy passes if he isn't in good position to put back his own miss, which will help Brooklyn to generate good looks out of their second chances.
Despite not being a box-score standout, Trevor Booker is a fantastic fit for Brooklyn's opening at power forward. He isn't much of a scorer, but he won't need to be given that Brook Lopez will score enough for the both of them. More importantly, he will improve a defense that ranked 29th in defensive rating last year and will contribute on the glass to a team that ranked 22nd in rebounding.
Booker may not be very noticeable on the floor barring the occasional jaw-dropping dunk and won't stand out in the box-score department, but his great fit alongside Brook Lopez will be a key factor in Brooklyn's winning percentage next season.