Posted on: November 20, 2023, 12:06h.
Last updated on: November 20, 2023, 12:48h.
The Phoenix Suns will shut down guard Bradley Beal for three weeks while he recovers from a back injury.
Beal initially sustained a back injury during training camp and missed the start of the regular season due to back spasms. His debut with the Suns was delayed until their eighth game of the season.
In three starts with the Suns, Beal averages 17.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. Beal last played in a loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder on November 12.
The Suns indicated that Beal aggravated his back injury against the Thunder. Beal underwent an MRI last week, which confirmed a lower back strain.
Banged-Up Back Court in Phoenix
Beal spent the first 11 seasons of his career with the Washington Wizards. Several teams attempted to acquire Beal in a trade the last few seasons, including the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks, but no one was successful.
New Suns owner Mat Ishbia made the Wizards an offer they couldn’t refuse. The Suns acquired Beal in exchange for veteran point guard Chris Paul, shooting guard Landry Shamet, and multiple draft picks.
Fans were eager to see the Suns’ new Big 3 consisting of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Beal. However, Beal appeared in only three games this season due to his lingering back injury, and none of them were alongside Booker.
Booker appeared in only two of the Suns’ first nine games due to injuries to his ankle and calf. Since Booker returned last week, the Suns won three games in a row.
Even though he only appeared in five games so far, Booker averages a career-best 29.8 points, 9.8 assists, and 5.6 rebounds per game this season. He’s posting career numbers across the board shooting-wise with a 51% clip from the floor, 43.8% from 3-point range, and 93.8% from the free-throw line.
Fans were worried about the durability of All-Star forward Kevin Durant, but he hasn’t missed a game this season. In 13 games, Durant leads the Suns with 31.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game.
Suns Still a Popular Pick on Futures Market
The revamped Suns parted ways with head coach Monty Williams after consecutive postseason exits. They hired Frank Vogel to improve their defense and lead them to their franchise’s first title. Vogel won a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers during the pandemic-shortened season in 2019-20, but the Lakers fired him in the wake of the Russell Westbrook drama.
The Suns also finally traded away center Deandre Ayton. They sent the former #1 pick in the draft to the Portland Trail Blazers in a three-way blockbuster trade that saw the Milwaukee Bucks acquire All-Star guard Damian Lillard. The Suns added center Jusuf Nurkic and role players like forward Nassir Little, and guard Grayson Allen in the Lillard trade.
During the preseason, the Suns were one of the betting favorites to win the 2023-24 NBA Championship at +650 odds. They were +400 odds to win the Western Conference, and the consensus favorite to win the Pacific Division at +145 odds.
The Suns are currently in eighth place in the Western Conference. The Nuggets are the favorite to win the Western Conference in consecutive seasons at +200 odds, and the Suns are right behind them at +380.
Despite a slow start, the Suns are still a popular public pick to win the championship at +750 odds. Only the Boston Celtics (+380), defending champion Denver Nuggets (+400), and Milwaukee Bucks (+450) have better odds than the Suns.
The Sacramento Kings (8-4) are in first place in the Pacific Division, and ahead of the Lakers (8-6), Suns (7-6), Golden State Warriors (6-8), and Los Angeles Clippers (4-7). The Suns are still the betting favorite to win the division at +170 odds, followed by the Kings (+350), Warriors (+350), Lakers (+475), and Clippers (+800).