The Phoenix Suns are about to embark on their first extended road trip of the season, a three game swing out East. This will take in games against the Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls.
The getaway potentially coming at a good time, as the team recently dropped back-to-back home games against the San Antonio Spurs. A sobering experience which the franchise will be able to take a lot of knowledge from after being humbled by what was supposed to be a rebuilding group.
Devin Booker played in that second Spurs contest after missing time with an ankle injury, but already his injury status has been updated by the team.
With the first game against the 76ers taking place on Saturday, Booker has been listed as questionable by the franchise, less than a day after playing 35 minutes and scoring a team high 31 points against the Spurs. The reason given is again the ankle which had caused Booker to miss the previous three games.
Duane Rankin – a must follow account if you’re a Suns fan – was quick to provide the update having touched down in Philadelphia behind the team. It is unclear at this point how long he is going to be out for, but it is not an ideal way to start a trip that has a bit more riding on it after the 2-3 start to the season.
Bradley Beal is still yet to suit up in the regular season, and while Kevin Durant has been excellent, relying on him so early in the campaign was not part of the plan. Josh Okogie, Grayson Allen and Drew Eubanks have exceeded expectations, but Jusuf Nurkic was exposed in that second Suns loss.
Put simply the Suns would be in a much better place if Booker was available, and it also throws up the question of if the franchise should go out and get an established point guard if Booker’s ankle injury is going to continue to flare up over the course of the season. We’ve only just hit November and already he will have played in only 50 percent of their games after the meeting with the 76ers.
A former teammate of Beal’s has expressed an interested in joining the quest for a championship, and even if that would mean waiving one of Bol Bol or Chimezie Metu, it may be an avenue head coach Frank Vogel wishes to explore as the season progresses.
If the Suns can go 2-1 on this trip and Booker plays in two of the games, then everything will feel stable. But if he’s gone beyond the 76ers contest and the Suns struggle against what will be a game against the reigning MVP in Joel Embiid, then a young roster in the Pistons who like to run, then the Bulls, panic will set in. No matter what way you look at this, the news is far from ideal.