Earl Watson Rumors
An interesting aspect of the Watson hire could be how it impacts Pascal Siakam. Watson has many connections to Siakam’s camp and this could be a case of adding a solid coach who also has that tie. Watson starred at UCLA on teams that also featured one of Siakam’s agents, Todd Ramasar, and Rico Hines, a player development coach with the Sacramento Kings who also has spent multiple summers working hard on Siakam’s game in Los Angeles, with obvious results. Watson has been at some of those runs.
As is always the case ahead of the NBA draft and free agency, the rumour mill has been churning, including with some unverified talk that Toronto has been looking to move Siakam. Maybe we’re reaching here and in four days this will look like a wild take, but bringing in Watson doesn’t seem like an addition a team looking to deal Siakam would make.
Chris Haynes: After being pursued by multiple teams, former Phoenix Suns head coach Earl Watson is finalizing a deal to join the Toronto Raptors coaching staff, league sources tell @YahooSports. Devin Booker credited Watson for his accelerated development. pic.twitter.com/I1FQYpBkmr
Booker, not knowing Spanish, wasn’t as comfortable sharing that side of himself until Watson encouraged him to. And once he did, Ochoa noticed Booker became more comfortable discussing it publicly, like he did when the Suns played in Mexico City in January 2017. “Maybe it’s my Mexican roots,” Booker said with a smile when he was asked how he was able to put up 39 points in back-to-back games there. “Booker has this charisma that people connect with,” Ochoa said. “I don’t know if it’s because he has Mexican blood, but he has a special charisma that translates without any words being exchanged and translates in his game because he always plays passionately. And he’s been loyal. … So he’s won the people of Phoenix over, especially the Latino community.”
Booker has blossomed into one of the league’s great young stars and he credits Watson, who would eventually become his head coach, for instilling confidence and a belief he values to this day. “[Earl means] everything,” Booker said on Wednesday after practice. “I credit Earl [for] a lot. He was one of the early ones in the NBA industry to believe in me to that extent. I think it started with him being my player development [coach] before he was the head coach. So he watched the work that he put in with me. He was on the court with me, sweating with me, putting in the work with me and just coincidentally happened that he ended up being the head coach.”
In 2015, Earl Watson was in his first season with the Phoenix Suns as the new player development coach under then-head coach Jeff Hornacek. He was quickly assigned to work with the team’s No. 13 pick in the draft that year, Devin Booker. Watson didn’t know much about Booker, so he did his research. “I couldn’t believe it. His dad is Melvin Booker. I am from Kansas City and Melvin played at Missouri. I was the biggest fan of his pops when I was in high school,” Watson told Yahoo Sports. “So when I met Devin, I was just talking about his dad and just fanboying.”
Watson immediately noticed Booker’s maturity level and his swag. Watson thought “so far so good.” Once they took the court for the first time in Phoenix for a workout session prior to his rookie year, Watson asked him one question. “How good do you want to be?” Watson remembered asking. Booker’s response was, “One of the greatest to ever play the game.”