Trevor Booker is a Free Agent That NBA Teams Should Consider

While a lot of transactions have already taken place this summer, there are still some great options available for teams seeking a late free agency pickup like Trevor Booker. His availability is the product of a few outlier circumstances that an NBA team will be lucky to be able to capitalize on.

The recent team-to-team movement for Booker started 18 games into the regular season. The Brooklyn Nets received the opportunity to potentially salvage the career of the 3rd overall pick from the 2015 NBA Draft, Jahlil Okafor. As a rebuilding team, it made sense for the Nets to trade a veteran like Booker to the Philadelphia 76ers for that opportunity.

Following the Okafor trade, Booker played 33 games with the 76ers before they ultimately decided to waive him to create a roster spot to sign Ersan Ilyasova. Philadelphia made the decision to sign Ilyasova to add adding perimeter shooting in place of the rebounding and defensive impact that Booker provided.

The Indiana Pacers jumped on the opportunity to sign Booker to close the season. It was a temporary situation not because of anything to do with his skill-set. Rather, the team needed a temporary backup power forward in place of rookie T.J. Leaf because he was not ready to be a contributor to a playoff team.

The impact that he makes with his energy, rebounding, and defensive versatility is well known and could help any team. There are a few metrics that capture that impact. He has posted a total rebounding percentage above 15 percent during five of his nine seasons. His defensive ratings with successful defensive teams are impressive; 102.4 in 2017-18 (IND), 100.2 in 2015-16 (UTA), and 101.8 in 2014-15 (UTA).

What makes Booker an effective defensive player is his ability to use his strength to defend bigger players and his quickness to be able to guard pick-and-rolls and perimeter players. Ultimately, that is why he has found success with positive defensive contributors around him because he has a complementary defensive skill-set that can fill an important role.

Booker does more on the offensive end of the floor than what he gets credit for. Between his abilities in transition, the pick-and-roll, cutting, offensive rebounding, in the post, driving out of spot-up situations, and passing, he has a well-rounded skill-set that could produce for any system. It is not often that you can find this level of versatility in a backup power forward.

Most dirty work specialists that teams have in their bench units aren’t able to make plays in the post and as a lane penetrator from the perimeter like Booker. His strength makes it difficult for opposing teams to get away with switching in the pick-and-roll or using a small ball power forward because he can bully them in the post and on drives. He can also get by more traditional power forwards when driving the lane since they typically lack foot speed.

It is not easy to find a backup power forward that does the offensive dirty work within the flow of the game like Booker. He has proven to be an effective finisher as a roll man in the pick-and-roll (or on drives in the pick-and-pop), as a cutter, and on putbacks. A backup stretch-four is rarely going to be able to compare in these areas and that is why it’s good to have a big man like Booker in your rotation.

In addition to his abilities in the half-court, Booker makes a reliable impact in transition. He is a reliable finisher and can create scoring attempts through diving towards the basket, taking the ball coast-to-coast, and being a rim roaming presence along the baseline behind the defense in early half-court situations.

The impact that Booker makes goes well beyond his on-court contributions. He provides a needed veteran presence through his leadership and enthusiasm while also being known for his involvement in the community. These are the kinds of players that are vital for a team with young talents to set a strong example.

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