Bol Bol is returning to the Phoenix Suns at the perfect time

Bol Bol is no longer on the injury report for the Phoenix Suns, and he is returning to the team at just the right point in the season.
Miami Heat v Phoenix Suns
Miami Heat v Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

It feels like the Phoenix Suns have really settled into themselves and the team that they are ultimately going to be since the turn of the New Year. Their 28-21 record seeing them sitting in the sixth spot in the Western Conference, which in truth is around about where they will be once the postseason begins.

Every time they go on a run - such as the seven game winning streak they have achieved twice this season and which accounts for half of their wins to this point - puzzling losses to the likes of the Atlanta Hawks follow suit. Not that Devin Booker is responsible for that, he has done everything possible recently to help this group win games.

It is clear at this point that the Suns are going to need some different faces to pop up and help them win games from here on out, and Bol Bol looks like just the solution.

The gigantic center with the guard's game offensively hasn't been seen since a win over the Los Angeles Lakers in the middle of last month, with a foot issue keeping him out of the last 11 games. Bol was taken off the injury report for the Suns' upcoming game with the Washington Wizards, their final game in this current seven game road swing.

The return of Bol might not seem like much, but there are three key reasons why his availability at this point in the season is exactly what the Suns need. The first is that the team's "Big 3" of Booker, Bradley Beal and Kevin Durant have finally had an extended run of games together, and they're looking comfortable out there.

Booker and Beal are splitting the ball-handling duties, which has allowed Booker to become more of the electric scorer that we know we can be. After carrying the Suns for much of the first half of the season, Durant also looks thrilled to have elite help on a nightly basis now, instead of trying to do everything himself.

So whereas there were many question marks around this group earlier in the season, Bol is landing back onto a much more settled roster. He will get his spots around these three - they will be limited but that does not mean they will not be important - and it will be up to him to have the positive impact he had shown before going down with the foot issue.

Which brings us nicely onto the second reason he is returning at the right time. Bol has already had a few games this season where he has proven his worth to the Suns. In that win over the Lakers he played 17 minutes, and in another victory over the Portland Trail Blazers earlier in January Bol played 20 minutes and finished with 11 points.

Two nights later in a tough loss to the L.A. Clippers, he had a season high 14 points in 19 minutes. Considering Bol's previous season high in any given month was a single point per game - and that he had a positive impact in three of his final four games before going down - he is now playing with more freedom and less pressure to perform.

Bol's name was one that was easy to throw into trade rumors earlier in the season, because another team might have been intrigued by him while he did nothing for the Suns. Worse again, it looked like he was an obvious choice to cut to bring in the likes of a John Wall, or another veteran who could have a greater impact.

Instead Bol stayed the course, head coach Frank Vogel trusted him and the payoff eventually came. Bol may still be awful defensively, but next to Jusuf Nurkic he presents a tough matchup problem for opponents when he has the ball in his hands. His shooting touch from outside remains nice, and his ability to flail his way to the basket using all limbs has to be seen to be believed.

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The Suns now have a lot of structure to their offensive ecosystem, which allows Bol to bring some chaos on any given night. Finally, the Washington Wizards would seem like the ideal game to throw him back in there for 10 minutes and see what happens. This may not occur if the Suns plan to bring Bol back slowly. It is unknown how severe his foot problem was.

But assuming there are no restrictions, the Suns could do a lot worse than turn Bol lose on a nine win team that have the third worst defensive rating in the league this season. The Suns will face the Milwaukee Bucks after that, and it will be harder to find Bol minutes. His return then could not have come at a better time for everybody, and the hope is that he can continue to chip in offensively.

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