Grayson Allen is the Phoenix Suns' third best player this season

Through nearly half of the season it is now official, Grayson Allen is the third best player on the Phoenix Suns' roster this season.
Miami Heat v Phoenix Suns
Miami Heat v Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

With nearly half of the season in the books, it would be fair to say that the Phoenix Suns have been carried by their role players through portions of the campaign. With Bradley Beal missing so much time - and both Devin Booker and Kevin Durant also missing games through injury - it has fallen on the next three players to step up.

Which is what center Jusuf Nurkic, Eric Gordon and Grayson Allen have done. There were many question marks hanging over Nurkic when he arrived in The Valley this offseason, but so far he has remained healthy and has tried to be everything the Suns need on both ends of the court. Offensively it has gone as expected, although defensively Nurkic has been marginally better than advertized.

At 35-years-old, Gordon has been the ideal veteran off the bench for this group. He can start on occasion, knocks down plenty of 3-pointers, and isn't the worst defender given his size and age either. Another win for the front office, even if Gordon has been vocal on his role on this roster so far this season.

But it is Allen who has far surpassed expectations, and has been the Suns' third best player so far this season.

That might seem like an easy bar to clear when you consider Beal has been limited to only 11 games so far, but it goes much deeper than that. Allen has been better than both Gordon and Nurkic - who he was battling for the title of fourth best player on the team - and recently knocked down an insane nine 3-pointers in a win over the Miami Heat.

The 3-point shooting is the only number to build Allen's case around, although at an insane 47.3 percent on 5.5 attempts per night, he trails only Durant (47.7 percent) but and is taking the second most attempts from deep (Gordon is attempting 6.6) on the roster. That is fantastic efficiency and just what the Suns have needed this season.

Perhaps the most impressive number of all though, is the 30 games played, all of which have been starts. That is more than the aforementioned Beal, Booker (26) and Durant (28). It also the same amount of games played as Gordon, although he has only started 19 games, which shows that when the Suns are down one of their "Big 3", it is Allen they turn to next.

In fact you could make a case that the Suns' offensive schemes rely more on Allen and his spacing and shooting, than they do any one of Durant, Booker and Beal at any given time. Obviously he is not as good as any of these players, but he is always available, and is a system player in the way head coach Frank Vogel really needs him to be.

Of qualifying players on the roster, Allen leads the team in effective field goal percentage at 65.1 percent, while his 13.6 points per game are the fourth highest mark on the roster, as well as being a career high. Given that Beal is putting up 16.9 per game - a number that will surely rise - at this moment the difference between the two players isn't nearly as vast as it should be.

Allen is also the much more willing defender as well, and perhaps the greatest sign of what he is doing on both ends of the court is how often Durant looks for him during games. As the point guard of this team - for now at least - Booker has to make it his business to find everybody. But next time you're watching the Suns play, look how often Durant wants to include Allen.

Allen's 33.3 minutes per game trails only Durant and Booker, while his 9.2 field goal attempts per game again point to a player who is handling his business in an efficent manner. When Allen is on the court, the Suns have an offensive rating of 117.9.

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By far the best mark of Allen's career, better than the 116.7 mark the Suns as a team have this season (11th) and a number that would move them into the top 10 in this category as well. He may get a boost here because of how much time he spends with the starters, but was that not the point of adding Allen anyway? To have a lethal shooter next to some stars, which is a role he has filled.

The only problem here is that Allen is an unrestricted free agent in the summer. His play on a theoretical contender means he is going to get paid a good sum of money by an organization out there, and right now it is going to hit numbers that the Suns can't currently afford. For now though, the Suns need to enjoy having Allen on their roster, what a luxury it has been.