If there is one player the Phoenix Suns have missed to start this season, it is new addition Bradley Beal. A back tweak which the organization have taken very seriously, the reason he has yet to make his debut for the team during the regular season.
With the also injured Devin Booker the franchise cornerstone – and Kevin Durant holding it down in a big way in the absence of his two running mates – when Beal finally does make it back onto the court, it is going to give the Suns that new car smell, especially on the offensive end.
That much anticipated debut now appears to be closer than ever, with a positive update from Shams Charania on the status of Beal and when he’ll next play.
Speaking on FanDuel’s “Run It Back” podcast, Charania had the following to say about where Beal is at right now on his road to getting back out there and helping a franchise that has started off a rocky 3-4;
"“Right now the expectation is that over the next 7-10 days they’re going to get Beal and Booker back in the lineup and finally have their “Big 3″ in the lineup together. That’s what they’re working towards… with Brad Beal he has not played this season, but I am told there is optimism that he makes his debut on Wednesday in Chicago, or on Friday against the Lakers.”"
This will be music to the ears of Suns fans, who have looked on anxiously as Beal has missed the first seven games to start the campaign, and Booker has been in and out of the lineup with first ankle, and now calf, issues. Adding to that optimism is how Beal looked during warmups in Detroit, in their most recent win over the Pistons.
The Suns have stuttered out of the gates offensively, with Durant carrying much of the load and role players such as Grayson Allen, Eric Gordon and Josh Okogie exceeding expectations early in the year. Right now they sit at 14th in the league, with an offensive rating of 111.4.
Inserting Beal into many of the minutes next to Durant in place of Allen – who is making a case to be the fifth starter when this roster is fully healthy – will supercharge many of the offensive sets that head coach Frank Vogel has looked to use so far this season. So much so, that Beal’s former All-Star teammate with the Washington Wizards recently spoke about his interest in a reunion.
Last season Beal put up 23.2 points per game, a far cry from the 31.3 he managed in his third All-Star campaign in 2020-21. Not that the Suns will care, as Beal achieved this while taking 17.6 field goal attempts per game. His lowest amount since way back in 2016-17, when he again put up similar numbers at 23.1 points per game.
Beal is going to be much more than a spot-up shooter for these Suns, and if the continued absence of Booker is anything to go by, there will be times when he is asked to carry the team offensively for stretches. This could be done alongside Durant or more likely, when he is on the bench.
Either way, Bradley Beal is going to be back soon and the Suns will be one step closer to having their “Big 3” out on the court together. Booker is coming along as well, and when all three are united out there, the Suns are going to race up the offensive ratings board. With back-to-back losses to the San Antonio Spurs still lingering, that cannot come quick enough.