Are Phoenix Suns Michael Beasley's Last Shot at Being an NBA Starter?

Danny Dukker@DannyDukkerCorrespondent IIDecember 4, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 21:  Michael Beasley #0 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game against the Portland Trail Blazers at US Airways Center on November 21, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Trail Blazers 114-87.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns decided to give a young small forward, Michael Beasley, a second chance at being an NBA starter.

Well, after 18 games, Beasley is averaging just 12 points and five rebounds a game. That's as a starter. A starter that is getting 28 minutes of playing time every game.

If the numbers don't improve soon, Beasley could very well find himself on the bench. After that, if he is still not performing, the Suns could try to ship him away. Now what?

Will another team be willing to let Beasley start? His offense won't get him there, and his defense won't do him any favors either.

Fact is, if Beasley can't turn it around in Phoenix, his days of being an NBA starter are all but over. When he was first signed by the Suns, I thought that it was a terrific move.

I pictured Beasley returning to his 2011 form. During that season, he started 73 games and averaged 19 points per game on 45 percent shooting.

He was efficient on the offensive end and showed all the potential the Miami Heat saw in him when they picked him second in the 2008 NBA Draft.

In Miami, he looked like a scorer with limitless potential. Perhaps even someone who could lead the entire league in scoring some day.

His first season out of Dwyane Wade's shadow was his great 2011 season. 2012, though, was a whole different story.

Injuries bothered Beasley for a good portion of the year, and when he was on the court, he was inconsistent.

In 2012 he averaged just 11.5 points in 47 games, and the Suns looked like a good place for a fresh start. Phoenix needed a scorer, and Beasley was looked at as that guy.

He could step in and average the 20 points a game the Suns needed. Unfortunately, that's not really happening right now.

Beasley is incredibly inconsistent, and his 39 percent shooting speaks to his shot selection. Every game, the possibility of him going on the bench increases.

I will say that it's not all his fault. Gentry has failed to let Beasley work with the ball as much as Beasley would like and often gives him the ball in the worst situations.

Still, if Beasley is a starting-type forward, he should be able to make it work to at least some degree. If he were an impact player on the defensive end, then maybe we could let his offensive problems slide.

However, his defense presents a whole different group of problems. He seems uninterested and has a serious lack of energy on the defensive side of the floor.

Some of the problems are also due to his size. While his size and quickness gives him an offensive edge, it makes it harder for him to work on defense.

He is either too slow or too big to guard the opposing forwards and that is a big part of why his defense is so poor. With that being said, excuses like that don't just mean we dismiss the issue.

The fact is, if Beasley cannot be a serious contributor on offense, then he has no business starting.

Should the Suns sit him, I find it hard to believe another team would be desperate enough to bank on him as a starter again. He could be seen as a spark off the bench, but nothing more.

So let me go ahead and answer the big question above. Yes, the Phoenix Suns are the last chance for Michael Beasley to be an NBA starter.

Hopefully, he turns it around and manages to stay in the lineup. He still has potential, but the management and fans can only wait around for so long.


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