Post-injury Bradley Beal has been the X-factor for the Suns

The Phoenix Suns have needed an x-factor during this low point in the season, and post-injury Bradley Beal has obliged.
Houston Rockets v Phoenix Suns
Houston Rockets v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

In June of 2023 the Phoenix Suns landed three-time All-Star Bradley Beal in a trade where they sent away their veteran leader Chris Paul. Joining 2 superstars in Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, it looked like a new superteam had been formed in Phoenix, but due to injuries this super team has yet to be seen at their full potential consistently.

In Washington Beal was seemingly the only bright spot for a long time, as well as the All-Star appearances for the Wizards, he was named to the All-NBA third team in 2021. On top of the accolades he ranks second in all-time points for the Wizards, second in steals, and third in assists.

His career high of 60 points is tied with Gilbert Arenas for the most in a single game by any Wizards player. Over a three year span from 2019-2021 Beal averaged 28.7 points per game proving he is one of the best scorers in the NBA.

So while Booker and Durant are undoubtedly the best players on the Suns this season, Beal is the X-factor.

A healthy Beal allows Booker and Durant to have an off night every once in a while and still give the Suns a pretty good chance to win. Beal is the secondary playmaker, third scoring option and has been very impressive defensively this season for the Suns.

Beal has only played in 39 games so far this season but has averaged 18.8 points per game, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.8 assists along with 1 steal per game.

The Suns are 23-16 when Beal plays, and 12-6 when he scores 20 or more points. Beal's play style fits perfectly next to Booker and Durant, can score very efficiently off the ball, pass and be a dominant scorer, and has been the Suns best player at getting to the rim and finishing.

Scoring is what Beal does best but his defense this season has been very Underrated, 25 out of the 39 games he has played in Beal has recorded 1 or more steals. Showing aggression on the defensive side of the ball by guarding the perimeter and holding his own in the paint blended with his elite level offense, Beal producing is the key factor to the Suns winning games.

With the rest of the starting five consisting of ABooker, Durant, Grayson Allen and Jusuf Nurkic, Beal has found his place on this team since returning from injury in early march. Averaging 20.9 points per game, 3.7 rebounds, and 5.7 assists since his return, the Suns are only 4-5 in those games but it is great to see what Beal truly looks like in his role for the Suns.

Previously in the playoffs opposing teams would just double Booker and force his teammates to beat them, then the front office added Durant to help that but poor shooting in the playoffs led to yet another second round exit. Adding in another dynamic scorer who can facilitate and compete on both sides of the ball, the Suns can compete with anybody.

Beal provides the perfect balance between Booker and Durant, all 3 of them can score from all 3 levels, with or without the ball in their hands. Every member of the Suns big 3 knows what it is like to be a number one option and how to score with the best of them. Essentially any one of them could take over any given night, and usually that is the case. Offense has never been the problem for the Suns this season, mainly it has been on the defensive end.

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Alongside his scoring Beal is a high level playmaker, averaging 4.8 assists while only averaging 2.5 turnovers per game, his lowest since 2017. Beal has recorded 22 games with 5 or more assists, including a 25 point 9 assist performance with only 2 turnovers in a 16 point win over the Miami Heat. When Beal is passing the ball at a high level and his teammates are hitting on the looks he gives them, the Suns are 14-8 when Beal has 5 or more dimes.

Combining all of what Beal provides with the star power of Booker and Durant should be enough to contend for a Championship, if Beal keeps up his play the Suns are going to be a hard team to stop. Booker and Durant get the most focus on defense and with beal out there to help carry the load, Phoenix should be playing into June.