The Phoenix Suns announced that guard Bradley Beal will be sidelined for three weeks as he continues to recover from a back injury. Beal, who joined the Suns after spending 11 seasons with the Washington Wizards, initially sustained the injury during training camp and missed the beginning of the regular season due to back spasms. His debut with the Suns was delayed until their eighth game of the season. In the three games he has played with the Suns, Beal has averaged 17.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game.
The Suns indicated that Beal aggravated his back injury during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, prompting him to undergo an MRI which confirmed a lower back strain. This setback is particularly concerning for the Suns, as Beal was acquired in a trade that saw the team part ways with veteran point guard Chris Paul, shooting guard Landry Shamet, and multiple draft picks.
Beal’s absence compounds the team’s injury woes, with star Devin Booker also having missed several games due to his own injury issues. However, since returning to the lineup, Booker has posted impressive numbers, with averages of 29.8 points, 9.8 assists, and 5.6 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, franchise player Kevin Durant has remained healthy and leads the Suns in scoring.
Despite their underwhelming start to the season, the Suns remain a popular pick on the futures market. They are currently in eighth place in the Western Conference, trailing the Denver Nuggets who are favored to repeat as conference champions. However, the Suns are still considered a strong contender for the NBA Championship, with odds of +750 to win it all. They are also the betting favorite to win the Pacific Division, despite being behind the Sacramento Kings in the standings.
The Suns’ offseason moves, such as hiring Frank Vogel as head coach and parting ways with Deandre Ayton, have invited scrutiny and high expectations, which are yet to be fully realized. However, their star-studded roster and solid betting odds suggest that the Suns still have ample potential to make a deep postseason run.