For the first time in five seasons, the Phoenix Suns will be without a primary playmaker on offense. They are without someone who possesses all of the necessary skills to be successful at the point guard position. While the word “fit” was utilized numerous times on Suns Media Day when referencing the reasoning why Jusuf Nurkic was obtained, the decision to bring in Bradley Beal by James Jones, Josh Bartelstein, and Mat Ishbia this past off-season was less about fit and more about talent.
It is one of those things that will have to wait to see when it’s on the court and how it actually plays out in real time for the Suns. On Media Day, however, numerous members of the team spoke about what it will be like not having a traditional point guard. Considering that you have Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, and Bradley Beal on the team, it makes sense as to why everyone believes the Suns offense will be easy. These are three elite scores who are also efficient and therefore don’t need ball dominance to be successful.
That is a vital component to this. Efficiency. Kevin Durant has continually been an efficient scorer throughout his time in the league. Last season, between time spent in Brooklyn and Phoenix, he had a 69.7 true shooting percentage. Booker posted one of 60.1% while Beal was at 59.3%. Offense will be easy, at least on paper.
Members of the Suns believe it will be easy once they hit the court as well.
Bradley Beal spoke on the manner, considering he slated to be the primary ‘point guard’ for the team. “It’s some that all of us – Kev, me, Devin – we’ve all had some ball handling responsibilities in our career. I know I’ve had probably more point guard responsibilities over the last year-and-a-half, two years than any other time.”
The past two seasons saw a drop in Beal’s scoring production – he went from 31.3 points in 2020-21 to 23.2 both of the last two seasons – following the departure of primary point guard Russell Westbrook. Per BBall-Index, he graded out in the 90th %tile relative to playmaking talent.
“I think it’s not going to be just one guy,” Beal added. “We’re all going to be leading by committee. Whoever is outletting the ball, whoever is closer and gets the rebound, we’re all free to push to get our offense initiated.”
When Devin Booker was asked about the increased responsibility from a playmaking standpoint, he responded, “Understanding the artillery we have, all these guys make the game easier for me and I understand that. We all have to be aggressive at the same time. Finding that balance and I’m sure we’ll pick up on it quick once we get into training camp.”
The Point Book we’ve seen in the past was one of necessity. He was the most talented player on teams that lacked playmaking and scoring. He was heavily relied on to do both, which led to inefficiency and physical breakdown. With the roster around him this go round, we should see an increase in both as the load is lifted but the playmaking opportunities are there.
He later added, “I have a lot of help around me to take a lot of pressure off. I’ve been in different situations before where there was a lot more on my shoulders.”
Newly acquired Jusuf Nurkic commented on what it’s like being in Phoenix now, joking stating, “Like Book said, I’m a point guard now.”
“The reason I’m here, they really believe I’m a great fit,” Nurkic said. “To be transparent, I feel like the offense will be the easiest part.”
Again, we’ll have to wait and see how in plays out. Will it be as seamless on offensive as the players assume? Or will it turn into a your turn, ‘now my turn’ type of offense? We’ll know more as the Suns first preseason game is on Sunday against Monty Williams and the Detroit Pistons.