The Phoenix Suns have been rolling, winning their last five consecutive games and moving into the fifth seed in the Western Conference. Devin Booker’s reinsertion into the starting lineup is a primary factory, but ancillary performances have assisted with the consistency that has equated to winning.
One of those players who has been providing consistent play (and some dominating slam dunks)? Drew Eubanks.
In 15 games this season, the backup big man has been electric. He’s shooting 60.8% from the field, averaging 6.2 points and 4.7 rebounds in 18.3 minutes played. His production has allowed Jusuf Nurkic to be aggressive, for if he gets into a spat of foul trouble, the Shaq of Troutdale is waiting int he wings to absorb minutes and play with connectivity.
Unfortunately, Eubanks appeared to jam his ankle in the Suns’ victory over the Warriors on Wednesday. Frank Vogel said after the game of Eubanks’ injury, “Yeah he rolled his ankle, and we’ll see how it responds tomorrow.”
It appears it did not respond well enough. He will be out today against the Grizzlies as a result.
Drew Eubanks (left ankle sprain) joins Bradley Beal (low back strain), Damion Lee (knee surgery) and Yuta Watanabe (left quad contusion) as out for the Suns tomorrow against the Grizzlies.— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) November 23, 2023
No Devin Booker on the injury report after the knee he took last night.
With Eubanks out, expect the Suns to lean on Chimezie Metu as much as possible. Metu hasn’t played much this season, making only 7 appearances and playing a total of 31 minutes. He will have his hands full as, despite being extremely injured, the Grizzlies’ interior is their strength. Bismack Biyombo and Jaren Jackson, Jr. are lengthy and defensively-minded big men that will certainly pressure Jusuf Nurkic. If foul trouble occurs, Vogel will rely on Metu. Or small ball KD at the five.
Now is Metu’s chance to garner minutes and take advantage of the situation. We’ve seen this happen already this season, as Nassir Little is currently playing well in the absence of Yuta Watanabe. Will Metu do the same?
Position battles aside, get well Drewbanks.