The Phoenix Suns had a disappointing start to the season as key players dealt with injuries. Devin Booker missed eight games due to various foot and leg injuries but has been available since November 15.
Bradley Beal has only played three games this season due to a back problem that has bothered him for quite some time. The only reliable star the Suns had at their disposal was Kevin Durant.
KD has played the team's first 15 games this season and has been Phoenix's entire offense.
He's only missed the Suns' previous two games due to foot soreness and was able to return to play against the Toronto Raptors. The Suns have crept up the Western Conference standings and are now 11-7 this season.
Their seven-game win streak ended after losing against the Raptors, but their recent achievements are still a positive sign. After finding the right footing on offense, the team finally found their groove and started to become a problem for opposing teams. They did all this without the consistent help from Beal. Despite this, Phoenix still hasn't considered trading him.
The blame isn't solely on him, but his absence is notable. Without him, the team has done a solid job asserting dominance on both ends of the floor. The Suns have figured out a way to execute their offense with just Booker and Durant as their constant All-Stars.
On top of that, the role players now know their assignment on both ends and have been excellent for the team. The Suns have adjusted well this season without Beal.
Phoenix have picked up their pace on both ends of the floor this season. It hasn't been easy as the coaching staff incorporated a new system. This season is Frank Vogel's first year after he signed a five-year, $51 million deal over the summer.
The players struggled to play in Vogel's system, causing the team to be inconsistent early in the season. After the first 17 games of the season, they've adjusted well to what the coaching staff asks them to do. During this time, the Suns' role players have adapted to the team's gameplan and have found their footing on both ends.
One of the players who has benefitted in the absence of Beal is Grayson Allen. The former Duke standout has been a consistent player for the Suns as he serves as the fifth starter for the team. This season, he's averaging 11.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.9 assists for Phoenix.
The 2023-24 season is by far the best in his career, which speaks volumes on how he fits with the team. He's started the first 16 games of the season, and fans have grown comfortable in having him along with the starters.
Having Beal on the roster is a luxury for the Suns. He's a three-time All-Star and a deadly scorer. Adding him to the mix with Booker and Durant will be problematic for opposing teams. But his prolonged absence has helped the Suns look for other options in the team, which is how Allen became a consistent threat offensively.
Vogel recently shared that the former Washington Wizards star shared his frustration of being unable to play.
""He's eager to get out there," Vogel said. "He's frustrated, quite frankly. Not to really speak for him, but it is clear he really wants to have this thing behind him. He's so excited to be here. So excited to bring his talent to this dynamic Big 3 that we have. It's just not there yet, but he's very eager to get out there.""
When Beal returns, Allen and the other role players who have found their footing will take a step back. That could ruin their momentum and possibly cause problems as the season progresses. It's also worth noting that the 6-foot-4 star has struggled to be harmonious with the rest of the team. In the three games he's suited up, the one-time All-NBA has averaged 17.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists.
Beal is making 39.1 percent of his shots from the field and 33 percent of his threes. The star guard will learn the offense to get along with the team and be a star for the Suns. There's no telling when he'll be able to return, but when he does, it could affect the others from playing consistently.
The Suns still need him, and the team needs him to return as soon as possible. His prolonged absence isn't helping him learn the system and be a productive star this season. Phoenix's goal this season is to win the title, and Beal will be a significant factor for them if he's healthy.