The Phoenix Suns entered the current season with lofty expectations, but they have struggled to live up to them thus far. Hyped as one of the league’s best offensive teams, the Suns currently rank 16th in points per game, averaging 112.8 points.
The anticipation was that the Suns, under the defensive-minded head coach Frank Vogel, would also show improvement on the defensive end. However, they currently sit 14th in points allowed, giving up an average of 111 points per game. Beyond the need for the team to stay healthy, there is a hidden key to the Suns regaining their winning form.
Is it a Depth Issue?
Questions have arisen regarding the Suns’ depth outside of their star trio of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, and Bradley Beal. Early in the season, these concerns were put to the test as Booker missed three games with an ankle sprain, and Beal sat out all five games due to back spasms. As a result, the Suns have a 2-3 record, including back-to-back losses at home to the San Antonio Spurs.
The Suns did attempt to address their perceived depth issues when they became the third team involved in the Damian Lillard to Milwaukee Bucks trade. In that trade, they acquired Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson. Unfortunately, Johnson did not make the final roster, but Nurkic, Allen, and Little have all played significant roles in the rotation.
Nurkic was brought in to replace Deandre Ayton as a starter, while Allen was considered a contender for the fifth starting spot, though he ultimately lost out to Josh Okogie. However, due to injuries to Beal and Booker, Allen has started all five games.
Grayson Allen’s Inconsistency
Grayson Allen’s performance has been inconsistent early in the season. He struggled in the first two games, scoring 0 points against the Golden State Warriors and just six against the Los Angeles Lakers. However, he has shown improvement over the last three games, with point totals of 17, 19, and 16, respectively. Despite scoring more, his impact has not been consistently positive. He has had only one game with a positive plus/minus, which was +22 against the Utah Jazz. In the other games, he recorded -4, -2, -12, and -10.
One way for Allen to improve his plus/minus and overall impact is to become more involved in playmaking for the team. He has had two separate games with four assists, showcasing his ability to initiate offense. By taking on a more prominent playmaking role and helping alleviate the load on Booker and Durant, Allen can become a more impactful contributor to the team’s success.
As the Suns aim to improve their scoring and all-around performance, they will be banking on Grayson Allen to step up on Saturday night against the Philadelphia 76ers. His ability to deliver on both ends of the floor will be crucial in getting the Suns back on track this season.
While injuries have played a role in the Suns’ early-season struggles, Grayson Allen’s consistency and playmaking will be key factors in their quest to regain their winning form.