The Phoenix Suns have had an up and down campaign so far, but look like they could be about to steady the ship thanks to the return of some big-hitters to their lineup. Despite all of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal missing time to varying different degrees, we may be about to see all three play together for the first time this season very soon.
With so much uncertainty around the availability of their top three players, there have been plenty of others who have stepped up in the absence of the abundance of starpower that the organization possesses. Durant might have been the Suns' best player up to this point, but he hasn't helped them to a 12-10 record to keep the team above water alone.
In fact there have been three key players for the Suns since the start of the season, who have chipped in with bigger contributions than anybody anticipated.
It would be easy to say that the "Big 3" that the Suns have are players that they cannot afford to lose, but that would be too obvious. Although with Beal having only played three games for the franchise so far, the jury is still out on just how much of a contributing factor he can be, on what the team hope can still be a championship run.
The importance of Booker and Durant is obvious, so let's instead go in another direction with this and pick out the three players who have beaten the competition on this roster to make themselves invaluable to head coach Frank Vogel. None are untouchable - but at this precarious moment in time - the organization can't afford to lose any one of them.
3. Eric Gordon
Eric Gordon has turned into an even more dependable role player and veteran than the Suns anticipated when they signed him to a two-year, $6.5 million deal this offseason. The logic behind getting Gordon was a sound one - add a player who can knock down a three-pointer, has played in some big games and who can defend a few different positions on the court.
Much like Durant, many fans would have also assumed that the true value of Gordon was not going to be seen until the playoffs next year. But through 22 games, Gordon has only missed two contests and has started 16 of them for the team. His 32.1 minutes per night the fourth most of anybody on the roster.
Obviously the inability of Beal to get on the court has led to Gordon getting more minutes, but he has reacted accordingly. His 14.6 points per game the second most he has averaged since the 2019-20 season, while the 40.9 percent from deep is up on his career average of 37.2 percent. To do so on 6.9 attempts per game - the most since 2020-21 - is another real plus for the Suns.
The team likely didn't want a player with well over 800 regular season games to his name to be this important this early on. But Gordon continues to gobble up the minutes left behind by whichever star isn't playing, and he's putting up a serviceable amount of points in return. Defensively he's performed like he always has, and has been a great two-way presence for this team.