Published date: December 22, 2023, 10:38.
Last update date: December 22, 2023, 10:52.
Phoenix Suns’ shooting guard Bradley Beal will be out of action until early January due to an injury to his right ankle.
Beal sprained his ankle in the first quarter of last week’s game against the New York Knicks. Considering it was only the sixth game of the season, it was a crushing blow.
X-rays were negative and MRI revealed no structural damage. The Suns will evaluate Beal in early January.
Beal fell on Donte DiVincenzo’s foot on a 3-point shot and rolled his ankle. Officials investigated the incident and called DiVincenzo for a flagrant foul for not allowing Beal to land after his shot.
The Knicks outlasted the Suns 139-122 thanks to a 50-point spurt from point guard Jalen Brunson. The Knicks hadn’t beaten a team with Kevin Durant in over 10 years, but they finally got out of trouble with a road win.
Another Injury, Another Failure for Beal
The Suns acquired Beal in the offseason in a blockbuster trade with the Washington Wizards. They sent future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul and multiple draft picks to the Wizards, who sent Paul to the Golden State Warriors for shooting guard Jordan Poole.
Mat Ishbia bought the Suns in the middle of last season for a record price of $4 billion. Durant wanted to leave his mark on the team by creating a “Big 3” with Devin Booker and Beal.
Beal has missed most of this season with a back injury, and his debut with the Suns was postponed while he recovers from a back sprain. He started three games in November before his back discomfort worsened and he was sidelined for almost another month.
Beal averaged 16.4 points per game in five games before suffering an ankle injury against the Knicks.
Without Beal, the Suns will rely on Devin Booker and Durant to provide additional scoring. The Suns are averaging 114.9 points per game, which ranks 15th in the NBA. The Suns specifically added Beal to their squad to ease the scoring burden of their first two stars, but injuries disrupted their plans.
There were only two games this season in which neither Booker nor Durant made the Suns score. Guard Grayson Allen led the Suns with 26 points in an overtime victory over the Chicago Bulls in early November. Center Jusuf Nurkic dropped 31 points against the defending champion Denver Nuggets in early December.
Next Man: Grayson Allen, Eric Gordon
With Beal sidelined, the Suns will rely on the veteran duo of Allen and Eric Gordon to log more minutes.
Head coach Frank Vogel tried out Booker at point guard, and Allen started 22 games as a shooting guard this season. Allen averages 12.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.
The Suns acquired former Milwaukee Bucks player Allen in a multi-team trade with the Portland Trail Blazers, who sent Damian Lillard to the Bucks.
Gordon played in 16 games for the Suns this season. Averaging 13.8 points and 2.8 assists per game, the player emerged as the Suns’ most reliable scorer other than Durant and Booker.
Second-year guard Jordan Goodwin has earned Vogel’s trust and is getting 20 minutes per game off the bench. St. Goodwin, an undrafted player from St. Louis, is averaging 6.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.
Struck Suns Try to Stay Above .500
The Suns compiled an 11-6 record before losing seven of their final 10 games in late November. They fell to 14-13.
The Suns are one of the rare teams that plays better on the road (7-5) and has a losing record at home (7-8).
The Suns are one of the worst betting teams in the NBA this season. They have a 10-16-1 record against the point spread.
Despite their slow start, the Suns have a +850 chance of winning the 2023-24 NBA Championship. They sit fourth on DraftKings’ NBA futures chart.
The Suns’ odds of winning the Western Conference are +450, with +225 odds behind only the defending champion Denver Nuggets.
The Los Angeles Clippers (17-11) are the favorite to win the Pacific Division at +140 odds. They are ahead of the Sacramento Kings (16-10) with +290 odds, the Suns with +400 odds, the Los Angeles Lakers (15-14) with +600 odds, and the declining Golden State Warriors (13-14) with +600 odds. . 1100.
The Suns were a +3.5 underdog when they traveled to Sacramento to play the Kings on Friday night. On Christmas Eve, they host the Dallas Mavericks during the NBA’s New Year’s Eve five-header.