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Devin Booker Rips Suns, Says Effort Was 'Embarrassing' in Loss vs. Nets

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2018

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) is fouled by Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Phoenix. The Nets won 104-82. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Devin Booker was not happy with the Phoenix Suns' effort in a 104-82 home loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night.  

"It sucks, man," he told reporters, per ESPN.com. "We thought last game would be our step forward. We definitely took a step back tonight. We didn't protect home court, came in here and got blown out in front of our fans. It's embarrassing."

Booker also cited a lack of team chemistry following the loss.

"I think all good teams have that trust and chemistry, where they're able to get on each other and know that it's for a better purpose," he said. "For us, I don't think we have that right now. We're not comfortable with each other. ... We don't push each other, and I think that's what we need to do."

Head coach Igor Kokoskov concurred.

"We were talking about making progress and trying to take a step forward going into this game, and we definitely didn’t do that," he said, per Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. "We make three steps backwards. Focus wasn’t there. Body language wasn't there. Effort wasn’t there."

Rookie center Deandre Ayton, meanwhile, said the Suns have to learn how to better motivate one another.

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"Know who to yell at, know who not to yell at," he said, per Rankin. "Know who to encourage. There's certain guys on the team, you curse them out, you're basically cursing with them. That's what amps them up. Cuss me out. Like, why you not on me? Some guys, you have say, 'Come on man, let's go, let's go.'"

The Suns (2-8) are still learning to play with one another after a transformative offseason that saw them add Ayton, Mikal Bridges and Elie Okobo in the draft, Trevor Ariza and Jamal Crawford in free agency and Ryan Anderson, Richaun Holmes and De'Anthony Melton in trades. 

They joined players like Booker, Josh Jackson and T.J. Warren, giving the Suns a new-look roster that is a blend of young talent and proven veterans. Thus far, the team is still searching for chemistry, though the building blocks are in place. 

In the loaded Western Conference, the Suns weren't expected to be playoff contenders this season. But the team's slow start has been frustrating for fans, especially while another team that has spent several seasons rebuilding through the draft, the Sacramento Kings, has surprisingly started 6-4. 

The Suns are likely to improve as the season progresses. The Kings will probably regress. Neither team is going to make the postseason. There have been growing pains in Phoenix as a slew of new players learn to play with one another, but brighter days nonetheless appear to be on the horizon...eventually. 

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