Bradley Beal didn’t quite look like the star the Phoenix Suns expect him to be, but he at least helped keep the team in the win column.
The longtime Washington Wizards star posted 13 points on a dicey 3-of-12 shooting (3-of-6 from 3-point range) with four rebounds, four assists, two steals and two turnovers in his Suns debut on Wednesday, in a 116-115 overtime win over the Chicago Bulls. The Suns outscored the Bulls by 16 points when he was on the floor, second-best on the team.
While it was Beal’s debut, the team has yet to play a game with its big 3, as Devin Booker missed the game with a right calf strain. Kevin Durant had a team-high 25 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and six turnovers.
Beal got involved early, notching two of his assists in the first two minutes of the game, then making back-to-back 3-pointers in the first quarter for his first points with Phoenix.
Beal was clearly playing a minutes restriction, finishing with 23 minutes and not seeing the court at all in overtime. The 30-year-old missed the first seven games of the season with lower back tightness.
The Suns acquired Beal from the Wizards last offseason at the cost of four first-round pick swaps, six second-round picks, Landry Shamet and Chris Paul, in an attempt to re-engineer an era that saw the team reach the NBA Finals in 2021, but fall well short of a return trip in the next two postseasons.
A three-time All-Star, Beal was previously the NBA’s quintessential big fish in a small pond, averaging 27.8 points per game in his final four seasons in Washington and reaching the playoffs exactly once, losing in the first round. The Suns will need him to be a much different player offense, working off ball much of the time, and that shows in his first baskets being catch-and-shoot 3-pointers. Beal was sixth on the Wizards in such attempts last season.
Like certain other teams, the Suns will be in the process of figuring things out early in the season. They’ll get their next chance on Friday against the slumping Los Angeles Lakers, and we’ll see if Booker’s back in time to assemble the much-anticipated trio.