3 goals for the Phoenix Suns’ Bradley Beal for the 2023-24 season.
3. Average 30 points per game.
Beal was one of the best scorers in the league from 2019-2021, when he averaged over 30 points per game throughout that two year stretch, and was named an All-Star once during that period as well. In the two years that followed, his last two in the league, that number has been 23.2 points in both seasons.
Can we put this down to the Wizards just being a bad team? What about a malaise setting in with Beal, once he’d secured a ridiculous bag and the league’s only no-trade clause to boot? Whatever it was, it felt like Beal, when healthy, was sleepwalking through some games, effortlessly putting up 20 points per night.
The plus here if you’re the Suns is that Beal is able to score so many points automatically. This despite every season for the past five years, Beal played for a team that continued to regress in offensive rating. Never once between 2018-19 and last season did the Wizards go forwards, and they slipped from 15th in 18-19 (110.2) to 22nd last season (113.7).
There is a bit of “chicken or egg” theory to those numbers however, as it is unclear how often Beal was dragging a poor supporting cast to a league average offensive rating with his scoring ability, or when he was doing his own one man show and the team were suffering as a whole because of it.
Not that the Suns will care. They know he can score 30 points per game, there is ample evidence that Beal is capable. He will have never had better teammates with which to do this, and with Booker and Durant going to get most of the attention offensively, he will have to step up as that third option that really punishes opponents.
For those who say his usage is going to tumble massively, and it will, which makes this goal difficult, there is another way to look at this. Booker is surely going to become more of a playmaker, and will have the ball more in his hands to find Beal as often as possible. Playing alongside a center like Deandre Ayton (for now…), the two-man game options are exciting too.