When the Phoenix Suns traded Steve Nash, let Grant Hill go and brought in Michael Beasley to be the designated scorer, you knew things were not going to go all that well in the Valley of the Sun this year.
But Suns fans weren’t ready for a 7-15 record with seven straight losses, and everyone is starting to point fingers.
Two things leaked out of Phoenix. One was owner Robert Sarver backing his coach, via Chris Broussard of ESPN.
Sarver on Gentry:”we’ve got confidence in our coaching staff & we’re not considering making changes. It’s still early in the season.”
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) December 10, 2012
The other is this tweet from the well respected Shaun Powell (who has written for NBA.com, ESPN and others).
Suns source: Michael Beasley is “toxic,” team in tailspin, could lead to major shakeup.
— Shaun Powell (@Powell2daPeople) December 10, 2012
Is any of this really a surprise?
We can have a discussion of if Gentry was the right guy for this job all along, but Gentry didn’t forget how to coach in past year. He took the Suns to 54 wins his first year, but as the roster aged and was depleted they became a .500 team the past couple seasons. Then they took a lot more talent away and they struggled this year. That’s not all the coach. You can bring back John Wooden and he couldn’t coach this Suns roster to the playoffs.
And you added Beasley as a go-to guy — for three years at $18 million — and you’re stunned he’s not an efficient scorer and can divide a locker room? Beasley is giving the Suns 11.4 points a game but at 38.3 percent shooting and 30.5 percent from three. He’s a gunner, it’s what he is. Sam Amick had more details at USA Today.
The nature of Beasley’s role is at the root of the problem. Despite the fact that he was added to take a leading-scorer role, there is a sentiment from some on the team that the Suns are more effective when his role is limited. Apparently coach Alvin Gentry is among those who have that opinion, as he played Beasley just 15 minutes in Sunday’s loss to Orlando that was the Suns’ eighth straight defeat.
The truly problematic part, according to a person close to the situation who spoke with USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, is that Beasley is hardly hiding his frustrations with the fact that his role isn’t what he thought it would be.
The Suns may want to trade Beasley, but the market for him is going to be rock bottom. They are going to have take back a contract or player they don’t want if they can even find someone who wants to take Beasley on.
Sorry Suns fans, but this is what rebuilding feels like. Especially when you use someone like Beasley as a patch to make it less painful, because there is no way to make it hurt less. I’m sorry Kendall Marshall is struggling (even in the D-League) and that it’s going to take time. That is the nature of it. Rebuilding is a hit and miss process, it’s not all Oklahoma City.
But you can’t throw this all at Gentry’s feet. Especially not Beasley.