The Phoenix Suns have dropped to 12-10 on the still young season with two losses recently, not that franchise cornerstone Devin Booker is worried. The Suns still with plenty of road left ahead of them in order to improve on the seventh spot they find themselves in the Western Conference.
Of much more pressing concern are the injuries that have continued to derail the franchise at each turn, just when it looks like they're about to be at full strength. Friday's loss to the Sacramento Kings the most recent example of this, with both Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal missing out through injury.
Durant has a small issue with his ankle which does not look to be serious. Then again, leaning so heavily on the 35-year-old so early in the campaign brings with it its own set of pitfalls. Durant has been the Suns' best player so far this season - it really isn't even close - but the organization now needs to ensure he gets some help to win more games.
Which is why the latest update on Beal is a massive one for the Suns, as he is in line to return to the lineup sometime this week.
Tuesday's tilt against the Golden State Warriors the target right now, although given the nature of Beal's back injury and how cautious the Suns have been with it up to this point, that is subject to change. But to have been given a date at all is huge, and it gives fans hope that the "Big 3" that the front office have put together can finally get some run.
Beal has been limited to just three games played all season, and the last two games represented perfect occasions where he could have shown the Suns what he is capable of. In the controversial in-season tournament loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, having Beal out there as the third option could well have been the difference against winning and losing.
The Kings game though is where Beal could have really shone, as he would have gone straight in as the second option. On too many occasions this season the Suns have had one of Booker or Durant available only. If Beal was healthy and playing alongside one of these each night, there is little doubt the Suns would be in a better position right now.
Booker knows better than most what a boost it will be to have Beal out there alongside him - hopefully as soon as Tuesday - and he said as much during media availability recently to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.
"That's the nightmare all coaches have trying to guard Brad. Not only coaches, but opposing players. I've been on the other side of it. He can stop on a dime and get to his pull-up so fast."- Devin Booker
The Suns are yet to see Beal, Booker and Durant play a single minute together this season, and the bet is that when that happens, the Suns are going to overtake some other teams in the West. That time can't come quick enough, as the team has one of the hardest remaining schedules in the entire league from here on out.
In the absence of Beal, Grayson Allen has done a great job of being a floor-spacer, and he is shooting a ridiculous 46.8 percent from deep on 4.9 attempts per game. But he is not nearly the creator and all around offensive threat that Beal is, and he too missed the game against the Kings with a groin issue. This Beal update is great for the franchise, an early Christmas present as they look to add some wins.