Forgotten Phoenix Suns player finally gets chance in win over Trail Blazers

It has taken nearly half of the season, but Bol Bol finally got a chance to play a meaningful part in a win for the Phoenix Suns over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Portland Trail Blazers v Phoenix Suns
Portland Trail Blazers v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

The good times kept on rolling to begin the New Year for the Phoenix Suns on Monday night, as they powered past the Portland Trail Blazers 109-88 for their fourth straight win. The victory also moving the franchise to 3-0 in what is their longest remaining homestand of the season at six games.

Not only is it hugely important for the Suns to make the most of this extended time in The Valley - which to this date they have done - but to pull out the victory against a team that had already beaten them this season was important. Former Suns first overall pick Deandre Ayton may not have suited up, but neither did Kevin Durant.

Which made it even better to see Bradley Beal - back and looking good after missing time with an ankle sprain - out there and contributing meaningfully for the second straight game. His 21 points leading the team, but so too did his six assists, with his passing ability one of the keys to this group reaching its full potential.

The Suns also got an unexpected boost off the bench in the form of Bol Bol, in a moment that could not come soon enough for the Soth Sudanese player.

Bol has really struggled for game time so far this season, and each time a better option looks like it is going to present itself for the Suns through trade or the buyout market, Bol is the player that is routinely mentioned as the one who should get cut. Yet despite this, he appears to be well-liked by his teammates and continues to wait patiently for his chance.

Which finally came in the win over the Trail Blazers, with Bol chipping in with 11 points and nine rebounds. More than board gobblers such as Jusuf Nurkic (seven) and Chimezie Metu (five). In fact Bol's contributions in this area led the team - and although he is still absolutely a negative on the defensively end - it was nice to see him make a difference for one game.

Bol has still only appeared in eight games so far this season, averaging under three minutes of time on the court. But this performance was much more in line with both what the Suns expected from a player who they signed in the offseason to fill the end of their bench, and also what we saw from Bol at times last season with the Orlando Magic.

He is capable of dribbling the ball up the court, and has nice feet around the basket. His shooting touch is also underrated - and given his extremely long frame - he can shoot it over anybody in the league. It was not all good for Bol though, as he had five fouls in 20 minutes and continued to look lost on both ends at times. His teammates were delighted for him though, with Nurkic saying -

It wasn't just Nurkic who had nice things to say about Bol - who was part of a bench unit plus Beal in the second-quarter that helped the team go on a 35-18 run - with Beal himself clearly enjoying Bol being around as well.

"I love it, you know I think the fans love him for the fact that he's a huge being that is very talented and they love to see him a lot more on the floor and trust me, we all feel the same way. He's an unbelievable talent and I think it's all about opportunity."

Bradley Beal

Beal wasn't done there though, enthusiastically talking about how Bol is going to get more run, and what he has to do when presented with this opportunity. One that is likely to come again with Durant potentially out of their next game against the L.A. Clippers.

"Just getting a chance, getting minutes. He's showed you what he's capable of doing, now he just has to build that... Bol's a pro."

Bradley Beal

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It took 33 games, but Bol in one game finally did what the Suns needed him to do when they signed him this offseason. That is come in and play some spot minutes, and be the matchup nightmare for opponents to solve. Once the playoffs roll around though he is unlikely to see the court, and that is ok. A couple more games like this one, and the Suns will be proven correct for signing him.