The Utah Jazz signed Trevor Booker today. The terms were not disclosed, but reports are two years and $10 million. Booker was a four-year player at Clemson and the 22nd pick of the 2010 draft by the Wizards. He has some international experience as well as he played for USA Basketball in the World University Games.
Booker gives the Jazz nice insurance on the front line. He has 105 starts in four years. Think of the Jazz front line as two centers (Favors and Gobert) with Kanter as the power forward. With the additions of Trevor Booker and Steve Novak, the Jazz now have options on how they want to play when they go to the bench at the power forward spot.
Moreover, if Kanter misses any games, Booker is capable of stepping into the starting lineup—which is not something you want to do with Steve Novak.
Booker is physically strong. He is a decent rebounder, grabbing a 17.7% defensive rebounding percentage last season. His defensive rating over the last three years has been 104,102 and 104. The Wizards were far more successful defensively when he was coupled with Gortat than with Sheraphin or Nene. This is likely because Booker is not particularly mobile and athletic, so he is better playing alongside a bigger, more athletic big.
Offensively, he is a bruiser who has developed a bit of a mid-range game. Last year he shot 46% from 10 to 16 feet—a huge improvement in his game and well above the league average. In his career, he has shot 36% from 16+ feet, which is right about league average.
Booker had a strong finish last season. He started 26 of 30 games and shot 56% after the All-Star break. In April, he averaged 11 points per game and shot 65%.
Booker fills a need for the Jazz. He gives them a physical presence. He brings maturity to the locker room. Some nights, when the Jazz go small and spread the floor with the power forward position, he will have a limited role. On other nights, if Kanter is out or having an off night, they will need a solid 25 minutes out of him, which he proved he could do for Washington.
I would suspect the Jazz overpaid for him this season (to acquire him for more than the mid-level exception or tax-payer exception) because they have cap room and because the second year is limited in how much of it is guaranteed.