“There’s A Difference Between Shooters And Scorers” | Bradley Beal To The Suns Doesn’t Compare To When Kevin Durant Joined The Warriors 

On Sunday the Phoenix Suns pulled their second big move of the Mat Ishbia era, trading for Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal for pretty much pennies on the dollar when you’re talking about a nomad contract player.

While the move looks good on paper and definitely helps the Suns in their quest to bring the franchise its first NBA championship, it doesn’t make them the favorites by any stretch of the imagination.

In fact, ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith took things a little further on Monday’s episode of “First Take,” saying the move isn’t anywhere on par with the one KD made joining the Golden State Warriors in 2016.

With the big difference being a group of scorers in Phoenix with KD, Devin Booker and the aforementioned Beal. And in Golden State you had KD, a great shooter himself, joining the arguably best shooters the game has ever seen in Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. 

SAS Isn’t Sold On Suns Big 3

On the surface the new Big 3 in Phoenix looks great, but it comes with caution, and SAS detailed what he believes will be their Achilles’ heel. 

“My issue is, who are you going to stop? Is there any defense whatsoever? And the depth, that definitely is a question mark as well,” Smith said. “They can score on anybody, there’s no doubt about it. There’s a difference between what Kevin Durant was playing with in Golden State with catch-and-shoot players. I’m talking about capable catch-and-shoot players like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and their capability and what they bring to the table in that regard.”

“Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, they’re not shooters, they’re scorers that can shoot,” Smith continued. “Steph Curry and Klay Thompson were shooters. So when I look at Kevin Durant with a Devin Booker and Bradley Beal, I don’t see the same kind of Big Three. I see the kind of Big Three that honestly will play into the hands of any team that can score and is also going to show up and play some defense. Phoenix can score on anybody, we get that. Who are you going to stop?”

The shooter versus scorer aspect is very enlightening, because in GS Durant was afforded a ton of room to operate with Curry and Thompson being knockdown shooters. With Beal and Booker he’ll have space but nowhere near the space he had during his time with the Warriors. Also when he made the move GS instantly became the favorites to win the title, winning back-to-back, and probably a  three-peat if he didn’t tear his Achilles. That didn’t happen when the Beal trade was announced, and probably won’t with him in tow. 

Maybe it has something to do with how good the Warriors were defensively prior to KD and after he arrived. A lot of that goes to the efforts of Draymond Green who at that time was arguably the best all-around defender in the NBA. The Suns have no one of that caliber, and finding someone like that isn’t gonna be easy. 

Suns Have To Find A Point Guard

In order to acquire Beal, the Suns parted ways with future Hall of Famer and perennial All-Star Chris Paul. With Paul the injuries have started to mount at an alarming rate for the 38-year-old, and he always seems to breakdown before or during the NBA playoffs, often leaving his team high-and-dry at the game’s most vital position. 

They could allow KD, Booker and Beal to take turns setting the table, but in order to get the most out of all three, a lead guard is imperative. This same issue has haunted the Clippers since they acquired both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in 2019. 

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