Suns’ Michael Beasley, Kings’ Tyreke Evans Must Prove Themselves in 2012-13

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Suns forward Michael Beasley and Kings guard Tyreke Evans need to prove themselves. To their teammates, to their coaches, to their GMs, to themselves, to us. Their talent is undeniable. But they certainly leave something to be desired.

Will Beas lock in, focus, and become the matchup nightmare 20 point scorer we all know he should be? Will Tyreke stop the regression, become a dependable number one or two guy and ever look better than he did his rookie year?

These two guys have vastly different opportunities which present their own challenges. Here’s my take on Beasley: He’s theoretically the big athletic forward that every coach wants as a number one option. A 6’10” combo forward that has the ability to do anything on the offensive end. Now for the first time in his NBA career he has the green light. Coach Gentry wants him to shoot. So he has that to adjust to. But come on, doesn’t every NBA player dream of and work for the chance to be given the green light? Gentry actually yelled at Beasley during the preseason when he didn’t shoot.

The Suns won’t make the playoffs and no one expects them to. But Beasley will be the difference as to whether this team is watchable or not. If Beasley is a repeat of last year, the 11 ppg, out of place, unfocused distraction that he was in Minnesota, then Jared Dudley is the Suns best wing player. Yeah.

If nothing else, the Suns starting 5 is solid. Their bench is beyond weak. It’s easy to understand why Beasley has been given the green light and fans have been talking about James Harden (it’s fun to dream) and Eric Gordon (be careful what you wish for). Beasley’s time with the Suns could be the one and only chance he gets to start and have the green light in the NBA.

As for Tyreke Evans, no fan base in the NBA is counting down the days until he is a free agent. In a week that included a huge contract extension for James Harden, as well as paydays for fellow 2009 draftees Stephen Curry, Demar Derozan, Ty Lawson, Jrue Holiday, and Taj Gibson among others, the Kings decided to wait it out on ’09-’10 rookie of the year Tyreke Evans. Ouch. Everyone agrees that was a smart move by the Kings. But it’s up to Tyreke to prove to them and the rest of the league that he deserves a big deal when he hits the market.

He has a lot of work to do. The Kings have pretty much forced Evans to show he can play either wing spot consistently. He is not their PG. He needs to take that next step in developing chemistry with new franchise cornerstone DeMarcus Cousins. He needs to prove that his physical tools aren’t a waste, that he can become a difference maker on defense and efficient on the offensive end.

The rookie excuses are long gone. The injuries and the nagging recovery have past. Evans has a full 82 games to prove he’s more than a one hit wonder and that the ROY trophy on his mantle wasn’t a fluke.

He needs to make his teammates look good, he needs to make it okay for the Kings to have an unbalanced roster full of undersized guards and position-less bigs. He needs to make everyone forget all the Kings problems. Maybe all of that is too much to ask of Tyreke Evans. But hey, they drafted him 4th overall and he won rookie of the year. What else are we supposed to expect from him?

On opening night Beasley was 2 for 9 with 8 points against the Warriors and got outplayed by Suns reserve forward PJ Tucker, he of 18 career NBA games.

Evans had a solid season debut against the Bulls with a 21-8-3 stat line and shot quite efficiently.

Both the Suns and the Kings lost.