Bradley Beal’s injury situation has been a dark cloud that’s hovering over a great start to the season for the Phoenix Suns. Just when it looked like Beal, Devin Booker, and Kevin Durant would all take the floor together, Beal’s back issue sent him back to the sidelines.
It’s fair to worry about the long-term ramifications of Beal’s injury since his back has been bothering him for over a month now. There’s no telling how long this could keep him out for, or whether it can creep up later in the season.
It’s also fair to wonder if the Suns should now make some kind of move for a point guard, since the playmaking outside of Booker and Durant has been a problem, especially in all-bench units.
But the Suns shouldn’t panic and make a trade just yet.
Aside from the fact that they’re winning games, their asset chest is all but completely bare after the trades for Beal and Durant. The only picks of value the Suns have to trade are several second rounders, along with potentially adding more swaps on some already heavily swapped firsts.
It’s very likely that they’ll only have enough assets to pull off one significant trade this year, and it would be a mistake to make that trade before they see what the team is like whole.
Any trade the Suns make has to have the long-term goal of the playoffs and a championship in mind. Its impossible to tell if the lack of playmaking is a roster construction weakness or if it’s something that the Beal can fix. And that goes for other facets of the game too, such as the Suns woes on the break and inside the paint.
On the flip side, it’s possible that an unforeseen weakness can reveal itself that the Suns might have to address. The Suns cant afford to expend any of their trade chips without knowing what their true strength and weaknesses are, and they’ll only know that when everyone is playing.
That doesn’t mean that the Suns are out of luck if they decide they need some immediate help. They could look to the FA list for some short-term fixes. Players like John Wall and other vets can come in to provide some instant help without forcing the Suns to use any real assets.
Whether the Suns pickup someone or not, the rest of their rotation can look at the Beal injury as an opportunity to earn a spot when he comes back. When it looked like Beal was about to return, we covered a few of the players who might lose minutes.
Guys like Josh Okogie and Jordan Goodwin, who were prime candidates to lose their spot, now get an extended opportunity to carve out a role.Nassir Little, who wasn’t even in mentioned in that article since he was racking up DNPs, has found his way back into the rotation and has strung together some great performances.
It’s clear that just about everyone on the roster will have a real chance to impress the coaches.By the time Beal is back, Frank Vogel and his staff will have an even better idea on who excels at what, and which lineups they should play in.
These players getting an extended look also adds the possibility of them raising their trade value. Someone will still inevitably lose their spot when the team is whole, and perhaps the Suns will decide that they can get more value from trading a player who won’t be contributing going forward.
The Suns have bought themselves the luxury to be patient and allow an avenue like that to develop with the way they’ve been playing. It would be a different story if they were treading water without Beal, but they’ve exceeded expectations without him. They’re winners of five straight, have soared up the standings, and don’t have to make a move on anyone’s terms but their own.