After years of being the number one scoring option with the Washington Wizards, Bradley Beal may now have to settle for much less. Something that he hasn’t done since before the John Wall injuries started to pile up.
Following a brief trade saga, Beal was sent to the Phoenix Suns on Jun. 24. But joining a team featuring scoring superstars in Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, he won’t have the luxury of scoring the way he’s used to.
When John Wall was traded to the Houston Rockets in December 2020, it allowed Beal to carry the scoring responsibilities. In fact, he quickly became one of the league’s best scorers at the time. He averaged 30 points during the 2019-’20 season and 31 points in his 2020-’21 outing. Those numbers placed him second on both seasons’ scoring leaders list.
Bradley Beal is going to need to take a step back now that he’s joined two superstars
Last season, Booker averaged 27 points while Durant averaged 26. But before Durant was traded to the Suns by the Brooklyn Nets, Booker was the Suns’ only primary scorer. Booker averaged 26 points prior to Durant getting traded. When Durant got there, he only appeared in eight games due to injuries. As a result of that, Booker still had to average 29 points. But when those two are on the court together, they take up the majority of the scoring.
Beal, who averages 22 points for his career, will be put into an awkward situation when he suits up for the Suns. During the 11 years he played in D.C., he had an usage rate of 27.7%. Of course, his peak was during the 2019-20 season when Wall was no longer on the team. He had an usage rate of 34.4% that season.
On Jul. 26, a viral video of SLAM magazine interviewing Beal saw him speak on his new role. During the interview, he spoke about the contributions he could bring to a team that already has two future Hall of Famers.
The fact that he’s confident is a great thing but he will have to work hard to get back to being an All-Star player. It’s not that he’s less talented because he can still be an elite scorer. But playing with ball-dominant players in Booker and Durant would mean that Beal’s usage rate will decrease in a huge way.
The upside to this situation is that Beal will be the Suns’ starting point guard, which means he’ll have the ball in his hands to start most of the possessions. But depending on which plays the Suns run, Beal might not be the one taking the shot.
With all details considered, Beal might have been better off in Washington, especially if the Suns don’t win a championship in the near future.