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How Much Longer Should Suns’ Fans be Patient with the Team’s Big 3?

The Phoenix Suns (19-17 overall) are now 36 games into their first season featuring Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal.

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Yet, the star trio has only played in five games together, recording a 2-3 record over those contests. In one of those games on Dec. 15 against the Knicks, Beal only played the first couple minutes before suffering an ankle sprain. Not to mention, in all but one of these games, at least one of the three were on some sort of a minutes restriction.

The three players have each dealt with multiple injuries throughout the course of this season. Durant returned last night to play alongside Booker and Beal after missing three games due to a right hamstring strain, but the Suns ended up falling 121-115 to the Memphis Grizzlies, who were without Ja Morant.

“Only results matter to people (who are) watching,” Durant, who finished 23 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, said of the team’s Big 3. “And context really doesn’t matter. So whatever it is, I mean, we know what it takes to build a good team. And expectations from the outside really shouldn’t concern us, but we understand with the talent that we have people are going to expect so much out of us and be disappointed when we take losses like this, so we just got to lock in and be better.”

One example so far this season of a team that took some time to figure it out, but are now excelling is the Suns’ opponent tonight, the Los Angeles Clippers (22-13 overall).

When Los Angeles traded for James Harden on Oct. 31, LA went 0-5 in the first five games Harden appeared in. Since, they have posted a 19-6 record, which is good for second in the NBA over that stretch.

However, their four stars of Harden (0 games), Kawhi Leonard (four games), Paul George (two games) and Russell Westbrook (0 games) have only missed a combined six games this season (excluding when Harden did not play for Clippers yet).

For the Suns, Durant has missed the fewest games among their star trio at seven, while Booker has missed nine and Beal has not been available for 24 games.

Durant, now in his 16th season in the NBA, understands what it takes to build cohesiveness among star players.

“(We just need) more games like this, so we can put stuff on film, so we can watch and see how we can grow,” Durant said. “And what positions that we all (are) successful in out there. Looking forward to playing more and getting more and more comfortable with one another and as well as the rest of the team.”

Booker, who had 24 points, eight assists and was a +11 in 37 minutes last night, had a little bit of a different response regarding the cohesiveness of the Big 3, even with all of these factors.

“I think we should have it down by now,” Booker said.

Booker does recognize what the ideal strategy with everybody healthy is for the team in terms of the rotation: having at least two of the three on the court during games.

“I think that should be the recipe at all times, especially deeper in the season or big matchups where if not all three of us, two of us should be on the court at all times,” Booker said.

So can the Suns sustain this health and follow a similar path to the Clippers or will they face strings of ups and downs throughout the year because of injuries?

Frank Vogel Did Not Sugarcoat Suns’ 121-115 Loss to Grizzlies

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Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

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