New star guard Bradley Beal was introduced to Phoenix Suns media on Thursday for the first time, flanked by head coach Frank Vogel and president of basketball operations James Jones. The three fielded a number of questions about Beal’s journey here and the next chapter in his NBA career.
My biggest takeaway from the day is just how real Beal’s excitement is; there were multiple occasions where his eyes lit up, excited for what’s to come. When asked about the big three grouping alongside Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, he couldn’t hold back:
“I get antsy just thinking about it... the biggest box we check is our unselfishness... more open shots, work on my catch-and-shoots”
Speaking of catch-and-shoots, I went back to check Beal’s C&S numbers from John Wall’s last full season in Washington, which was 2016-17. Beal hit 42.6% of his 5.0 C&S 3PA that season, including 43.4% of 3.1 open C&S 3PA. That high-efficiency, high-volume production could balloon even more with two superstars next to him instead of just one.
Beal, who acknowledges that the Valley is well-established as “Book Nation,” talked about how the pairing, plus Durant, will work well because of the collective unselfishness.
"I get ansty just thinking about it because I haven’t had those opportunities...The biggest box we check is unselfishness. We just want to compete." - Bradley Beal on playing with this core pic.twitter.com/Vc4wnbU4hl— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) June 29, 2023
Coach Vogel said he’d be “comfortable” rolling with a starting backcourt of Beal and Booker, but the team will continue to explore other options as free agency kicks off on Friday at 3 p.m. AZ time.
Vogel added that the Suns’ offense will utilize “a multiple ball handler attack in most possessions” that could leave Beal and Booker switching off from one possession to the next as well as within the possessions as well while Durant still gets a fair share of the initiation as well.
Vogel also called Beal one of the best players in the league who lives by the same “champions behave like champions before they’re champions” mantra that Vogel’s carried with him since his time in Indiana.
Deandre Ayton’s name was evoked a few times with Vogel calling him one of the best two-way centers in the game and Beal calling him better than any center he’s played with. Beal and Vogel both talked about how key Ayton can be on this team, assuming he does stick around on it.
Jordan Goodwin, another guard who joined Beal in the trade from Washington to Phoenix, also came up and Beal thinks Goodwin is primed to “surprise a lot of people.” Vogel noted that Goodwin’s size at 6’3 with a 6’10 wingspan and defensive tenacity are what appeal most to him.
Beal, arriving in Phoenix as June turns to July, already has learned how to complain about the heat. Lucky for him, Booker, who regularly travels up north to find cooler weather, has already invited Beal on a camping trip:
best moment from the beal presser imo pic.twitter.com/nhPMEHXrWa— damon allred (@iamdamonallred) June 29, 2023
As lofty as the expectations feel around the Suns now that they have the league’s only true big 3 by my estimation, Beal made sure to note: “We’re not gonna let [the media’s] expectations be bigger than ours.” He talked about the work and the process that goes into reaching expectations too, and now is when that will all begin.
Welcome to the big 3 era in Phoenix!