In a recent episode of ESPN’s First Take, prominent sports commentator Stephen A. Smith shared his apprehensions about the Phoenix Suns, who currently hold a 2-3 record, due to the absence of their key players.
Devin Booker, who had been sidelined due to a left ankle sprain, made his much-anticipated return to the court during the last night’s game against the Spurs. On the other hand, Bradley Beal has yet to make an appearance this season due to low back spasms, and he is set to miss the upcoming game as well. However, it’s worth noting that Kevin Durant has been consistently taking the court, playing heavy minutes for the Suns.
Smith voiced his concerns, saying, “The reason we had high expectations for the Phoenix Suns this season was the anticipation of this formidable offensive trio playing together. Now, with doubts about when or if that will happen, there’s legitimate cause for concern.”
Even with the return of both Booker and Durant in the previous game, Smith remained skeptical about their ability to elevate the Suns to the next level. He remarked, “Ultimately, when you break it down, just having the two of them on the court might not be sufficient. Denver demonstrated that in last year’s postseason. To compete against the formidable competition in the Western Conference, the expectation was that Bradley Beal would also be on the court. However, given the current circumstances…”
“Injuries, injuries, injuries. That’s the predominant concern with the Phoenix Suns. Do they possess the resilience and the necessary health to play together and make a strong postseason push? It’s a critical question because they’ll undoubtedly require it,” Smith emphasized.
He further added that even with Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, the Suns might not have what it takes to surpass teams like the Lakers or the Clippers.
Despite his return, Booker is still listed as questionable for the next game, while Beal, as previously mentioned, remains sidelined. The Suns are scheduled to face the Philadelphia 76ers on the road at 10 a.m. MST tomorrow.
While it’s only the fifth game of the season, there’s a lot that can change between now and the playoffs in April. Beal’s lingering back issue could become a cause for concern if he continues to be sidelined, but the Suns appear to be prioritizing his long-term health over rushing his return.
As for whether Kevin Durant and Devin Booker alone can carry the team, it’s essential to consider that the Suns have integrated 12 new players into their roster this season. It’s challenging to gauge how the team will gel this early in the season. The addition of experienced veterans like Eric Gordon and Grayson Allen coming off the bench adds a dynamic the Suns didn’t have in the previous season.
While the Phoenix Suns’ star players are facing injuries and uncertainties, it’s too early in the season to make definitive judgments. The team’s performance, especially in the context of a revamped roster, will evolve over time, and the outcome may not solely depend on the star duo of Durant and Booker.