Bradley Beal was supposed to be the third piece of the NBA’s newest “big 3”, and the Phoenix Suns were considered championship contenders heading into the 2023-24 season. But two months in, Beal has played in just 6 games thus far. And based on how the team has been performing lately, it is unclear how much he would even help at this point.
Suns In Danger Of Falling Out Of Top 10
The Phoenix Suns are 3-8 over their last 11 games. pic.twitter.com/1OYMQaoULB
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) December 23, 2023
The Suns started slow out of the gates with a 2-4 record, but rebounded by Thanksgiving to up their mark to 11-6. But the holiday season has not been kind to Phoenix, as they are 3-8 in their last 11 games to drop to an even .500. They haven’t been playing against any elite teams, either, as they have losses to the Trail Blazers, Nets, and Raptors in that span. The only teams they’ve defeated are the Grizzlies, Warriors, and Wizards.
The tough stretch hasn’t been due to a lack of production from Kevin Durant. The star for the Suns is averaging the most points that he has in 10 years, and is playing at his usual high level. But co-star Devin Booker has only been available for 19 of the team’s 28 games, often joining Beal on the bench in street clothes.
The real culprit is the lack of depth and firepower from the supporting cast. Aside from Booker and Durant, the leading scorers for the Suns are Grayson Allen and Eric Gordon, who average a combined 25. A team with two of the top bucket-getters in the league is ranked 15th in points per game.
Phoenix Now 14-14 After Loss To Kings On Friday
Eric Gordon would like a bigger role on the Phoenix Suns, per @ChrisBHaynes
“Lately I haven’t been getting hardly any touches really.”
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) December 23, 2023
It was on full display on Friday night in Sacramento. Both Booker and Durant put up numbers slightly below their average, but the rest of the starters were able to muster just 13 points (Gordon had 0 in 24 minutes). Conversely, every Kings starter finished with 13+ points, including a 28-point triple double from Domantas Sabonis. Sacramento was in control throughout, and beat Phoenix by a score of 120-105.
With the loss, the Suns dropped to 14-14 on the season, and are a loss away from falling out of the top 10 in the Western Conference completely.
Beal will be out for another 10 days at least, as he will be re-evaluated in early January. The Suns will have a couple of days off before playing in one of the Christmas Day contests, which will be the first of a stretch when the team plays 6 of 7 games in Phoenix.