GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 11: Guard Bradley Beal #23 of the Florida Gators listens to coach Billy Donovan during play against the Jackson State Tigers November 11, 2011 at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Despite an abundance of options in the back court, the Kings select yet another shooting guard. Skepticism abounds as to how the Kings will manage the minutes of Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, Isaiah Thomas, Jimmer Fredette, Francisco Garcia, and now Bradley Beal. The pick is regarded as a strong pick in terms of talent, but bad in terms of fit. Geoff Petrie shows no outward emotion.
Beal's debut in the Vegas Summer League is mixed, but he shoots well overall. There is hope that the Kings have found another option to spread the floor. Forever doomed to repeat the same mistakes, the Sactown Royalty forums are filled with discussion of the playoffs.
As the season begins, the Kings continue to slot Tyreke Evans at small forward, sometimes shifting him to point guard or shooting guard when Thornton or Thomas are on the bench. Tyreke remains uncomfortable at the 3 spot, and his numbers remain below the standard we've come to expect from Tyreke. His shot is improved, but still too unreliable to keep defenses honest.
Beal comes off the bench, but struggles to find consistent minutes. John Salmons is the primary back-up at small forward, but Beal still has to compete with Thornton, Tyreke, Garcia, and occasionally Jimmer for minutes at shooting guard. When he does play he appears hesitant, but isn't terrible. It is reminiscent of Jimmer's rookie season, with flashes of brilliance. The team as a whole suffers at the lack of a consistent rotation. The Kings have considerable talent at the guard position, but it is clear that the team is unable to best utilize that talent.
At the trade deadline, Tyreke Evans is traded to a borderline playoff team in exchange for a first round draft pick and expiring contracts. Geoff Petrie discusses the benefits of cap flexibility, and the regained flexibility of having another first round draft pick. No longer, we are told, will the Kings be confined by the protected first round pick owed to Cleveland from the JJ Hickson trade.
The Kings do show improvement, registering 37 wins on the back of DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas, but once again miss the playoffs. Beal looks better in the second half, but struggled to earn consistent minutes throughout the season.
Beal continues to develop, but never emerges as the dominant shooter the Kings and pundits predicted he would become. He settles into the role of 6th man, providing a scoring spark of the bench. He earns the nickname "BB Gunner" from Jerry Reyolds. Fans often debate whether or not he should be traded. He's a nice complementary piece, but is widely considered a disappointment for the 5th overall pick. Defenders of Beal blame the situation and lack of organizational development.