Suns Notes: Slump, Beal, Nurkic, Okogie, Trade Ideas

Even without Bradley Beal available, the Suns should be performing better than they have as of late, according to Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports, who identifies myriad problems that were on display in Tuesday’s ugly loss in Portland. The team’s role players haven’t shot three-pointers particularly well, the fourth-quarter offense has relied too much on iso-ball, and the perimeter defense hasn’t been stout enough, Bourguet writes.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, star guard Devin Booker said his teammates can’t be “scared to hold each other accountable” and that it’s important to “keep learning each other, keep talking,” per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.

“We all feel it,” Booker said of the Suns’ recent underwhelming play. “Not just one of us. It’s everybody in here. We all have a job and this is the highest form of basketball in the world. It’s not an easy job and we understand that. We have the talent. We have the basketball minds in here to play better than we were.”

While the Suns are disappointed with their performances in the past few games, there have been “no players-only meetings for us so far,” forward/center Chimezie Metu said with a smile on Friday (Twitter video link via Rankin). “Hopefully we don’t have to get to that point, but we’ll see,” he added.

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • Phoenix announced on Monday that Beal’s sprained right ankle will be reevaluated in two weeks, but the veteran guard tells Marc J. Spears of Andscape (Twitter link) that he hopes to return “much sooner” than that.
  • While starting center Jusuf Nurkic won’t be available for Friday’s game in Sacramento for personal reasons, he’s expected to rejoin the club for the Christmas Day game vs. Dallas, tweets Rankin.
  • Suns wing Josh Okogie, who has missed the past four games due to a hip flexor, said he’ll be a “game-time decision” on Friday (Twitter video link via Rankin). Okogie added that he’s able to run without issue now but needs to make sure he has regained his “explosiveness” before he gets back on the court.
  • Taking into account the limited collection of movable assets the Suns have at their disposal this season, Bourguet offers up 12 ideas for trades that might be viable and that would potentially upgrade the team’s depth.
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