The Phoenix Suns made headlines by making Bradley Beal their new starting point guard. Therefore, the Suns will ask Beal to make the decisions best for running the offense this upcoming season. After acquiring Beal from Washington, the Suns started training camp with Beal as their lead ball-handler.
Was that the right call? The article examines the decision.
Bradley Beal is expected to enter 2023-24 Suns training camp as the team’s starting point guard, with Jordan Goodwin as a reserve PG, sources say.
Details on Suns moves to shore up roster, add 2nd-rounders for future moves, create $30M in tax savings: https://t.co/QdIc4Co3gw
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 16, 2023
Evaluating Bradley Beal as the Suns Point Guard
Why Was Brad the Choice?
Beal is an underrated playmaker. The Suns have two stars that need to get the ball in the right spots to get success. Therefore, Devin Booker and Kevin Durant need someone who makes their job easier. While Booker proved to be an excellent playmaker, he had the ball in his hands a lot. Durant did as well, with a lot coming from isolation offense. Moreover, an isolation offense produces contested shots, and a willing point guard frees up shots for Beal and Durant.
Therefore, the decision came from his role as a decision-maker in Washington. In 2022, Beal produced 30% of the Wizards’ assists and has a terrific basketball IQ. Beal’s production gave the Suns confidence that he fits their point guard role.
Bradley is an improved passer with good instincts. He averaged 5.4 assists a year ago in Washington, the second-best of his career. He also only surrendered 2.9 turnovers a game last season, his fewest in the last four seasons. In the last two years, he produced his best and second-best assist totals of his career. Therefore, he is a proven passer that gets his teammates involved in the offense. Beal had a game against Chicago where he had 17 assists, so he is more than capable of taking on this role and flourishing.
Beal breaks players off the dribble and has the intelligence to make the right call on whether to shoot or pass. Also, he gives Booker and Durant less responsibility. Therefore, Beal opens up their offensive games more by getting their shots off catch-and-shoot situations.
Unfortunately, there are a few potential cons with this move. The first is transitioning from a shooting guard to a point guard full-time. Beal proved he can do it, but he will make the transition in a more pressurized role. The Suns let go of Chris Paul, an under-control point guard, so Beal needs to make that move worth it. Therefore, there are a lot of expectations for him to make the offense flow.
Additionally, he takes the ball out of the hands of Devin Booker. Booker excelled running the point guard role for Phoenix. He had the highest scoring average in the playoffs and was eighth in assists per game. Therefore, there is a possibility that Booker’s potential is hindered by playing off the ball.
The Last Word on Beal
Beal has a proven ability to create for others. He succeeded as a playmaker in Washington and will help Durant and Booker get more clean looks in the offense. Nevertheless, Booker proved a strong point guard for the Suns, and did Phoenix squander Booker’s ability to succeed with this move? In a year, where Phoenix has a lot of expectations because of the acquisition of Beal, the offense needs to move smoothly.