Nothing like a five-game win streak to quiet the noise surrounding the Phoenix Suns needing a point guard. The team is still figuring it out after playing game #42 of the season against the Indiana Pacers. Still, without a guy to carry the second unit while handing out high-percentage shots, the Suns' bench issues are overwhelmingly noticeable. After T.J. McConnell started only his 3rd game of the season Sunday night against the Suns, it was nice to see a team without their star guard Tyrese Haliburton, have a backup plan.
The backup plan for the Suns in case of emergency is shooting, shooting, and even more shooting from their core four (Grayson Allen, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, and Kevin Durant). Spread out from quarter to quarter, one of these players will be on the floor, but it doesn’t always lead to success.
The Suns won the game 117-110, but there were still some gaps that needed to be filled.
The second-quarter start for the Suns against the Pacers on Sunday was an example that the momentum of the game can slow and teams with high-powered offenses like the Pacers can get back into games. I really don’t care how good a defense can be; the offense of the Pacers can take you under, and take a lead if you can’t match.
With KD and Bradley Beal starting the second the ball movement, like in previous games, can halt to a complete stop. The most movement you will see on the floor is Beal driving to the rim, drawing a foul at times, or KD playing to his strength with size and getting a good look from mid-range. That leaves the Suns' remaining bench players with nothing to do, but maybe set a screen?
We (Suns) don’t have a bench. We just have fillers to play along with the big 3— ’ (@dbookownsyou) January 22, 2024
In this instance, it would be nice to have a backup ball-handler to sustain a lead and keep the flow of the offense going. The Suns have shooting when it comes to Eric Gordon, but valuable cutting and/or production from Chimezie Metu and Josh Okogie is non-existent.
The bench itself is currently 27th in the league, averaging 28.0 points per game. A loaded bench, so we thought, heading into the 2023-24 season is underperforming, and there are only so many times that Grayson Allen can hit eight three-pointers in a game to save the Suns' butts. Allen is a starter, but in my eyes is keeping the Suns bench afloat by helping them out with crazy shooting stats halfway through the season.
It is not just scoring that is an issue for the Suns bench, as they are 29th in the league in assists with 5.6 per game.
Having one of the Big Three in KD, Beal, or Booker, typically on the floor with the bench unit, you would think this team would continue to hit on all cylinders. But that is not the case.
Sunday night’s bench results show you the difference between the league’s best bench and one of the league's worst.
- Pacers: 55 pts, 13 ast, 26 reb
- Suns: 9 pts, 6 ast, 10 reb
All trust between the Suns' starters and the bench has been lost, and you can see it on the players’ faces. The missing confidence and anxiety are worn with a lack of pride.
Can the Suns maintain leads with their starting five, and with their closeout five of Booker, Beal, Durant, Allen, and Gordon? They will have to until a viable asset is available. Who that might be? I really have no clue, because a guy like Allen will have to be included to gain any traction in talks to bring a game-changer to Phoenix. And I don’t even want to think about losing that guy for anyone.
Maybe Bol Bol is missed more than what we think?