3 reasons the Phoenix Suns were wrong to trade for Bradley Beal

The Phoenix Suns look like fringe contenders to win a championship right now, but Bradley Beal hasn't had much to do with the success of this group.

Milwaukee Bucks v Phoenix Suns
Milwaukee Bucks v Phoenix Suns / Kelsey Grant/GettyImages
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The Phoenix Suns have entered the final stretch of the regular season, and it feels like every game is an important one for them. A rocky start to the season meaning they need to keep winning in order to keep pace in a crowded Western Conference.

It may be that the fifth spot they currently occupy is as high as they can finish - and really head coach Frank Vogel will like his team's chances in any first round matchup - but there is little doubt that the chasing pack are keeping the Suns honest. A bad run of results could see them slip back into the play-in tournament spots.

It would be great if the team could rely on their third star in Bradley Beal at this stage - but they cannot - and you can now make the case they should have never traded for him.

With well over half of the regular season as a basis to make this judgement, it is abundantly clear that the Suns are only as good as Kevin Durant and Devin Booker each and every night. The league has mostly shifted to having two stars surrounded by more depth than we've seen in the past, but Beal's inclusion on this squad means that hasn't quite happened.

He's not going anywhere either, both because he has a no-trade clause that landed him in Phoenix in the first place, and three years remaining on his current contract after this season. That third year is a player option - but given that it is for an insane $57.1 million - you can guarantee he is going to pick that up. So the Suns are saddled with Beal, and this is why trading for him was a mistake.

3. He's not even their third best player

On paper Beal is obviously the Suns' third best player. Only that hasn't been the case this season, with two of his teammates successfully vying for that spot depending on the night. Grayson Allen leads the entire league in 3-point shooting percentage at 48.6 percent on 5.3 attempts pe night, and that ability has stretched opponents in ways Beal can't so that Booker and Durant can get to work.

Center Jusuf Nurkic is the other player who - depending on the matchup - really shows his importance to this group. Whether fans like to admit it or not, the Suns don't have another big who selflessly does what is required on the court to win, and can screen, pass and move offensively in ways that unlock everything around him.

Defensively coach Vogel has gotten more than anybody anticipated out of the big Bosnian, and even though it may be that Durant at the five is the best version of this team, Nurkic has his place. Never was this more evident than in the win over the Los Angeles Lakers recently, when he bullied Anthony Davis inside and provided the beef up front to try and contain LeBron James as well.

Beal is a better player than both Allen and Nurkic, yet for most of this season his impact has lagged behind both. Is that really what you want from your third best player, and somebody who the Suns traded Chris Paul for? It is not wrong to expect more, and to this point two role players with limited ceilings have done more for this franchise so far this season.