LEXINGTON, KY - FEBRUARY 07: Bradley Beal #23 of the Florida Gators shoots the ball during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena on February 7, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Man, this is bleak.
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. It appeared Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was about to fall to Sacramento, as Cleveland is widely believed to covet Harrison Barnes. However, at the last moment, Portland trades up and selects MKG. Cleveland gets Barnes with the 6th pick. Geoff Petrie breaths a heavy sigh an unconvincingly explains that Beal was the top player on Sacramento's board.
Beal struggles from the outset at Vegas Summer League. Drafted primarily as a scoring threat, Beal's outside shot is terribly off-target. Beal also appears intimidated by NBA-caliber defenders, and refuses to drive the lane in an attempt to get to the line.
Citing a logjam in the back court, the Kings are rumored to be shopping Tyreke Evans. Adrian Wojnarowski breaks the news that Tyreke Evans has been traded to the Atlanta Hawks. Awaiting the details of the trade, Kings fans quickly talk themselves into the pairing of DeMarcus Cousins and Josh Smith, particularly since Jason Thompson was not re-signed in free agency. Woj then reports that the Kings will receive Marvin Williams. Geoff Petrie excitedly discusses how Williams fills the team's need at Small Forward.
Beal's shooting struggles continue in the regular season. Beal's shooting struggles at Florida, often written off as an aberration caused by the way Florida used Beal, appear to have been indicative of a larger issue. Beal, drafted as a scorer, can not score. He struggles to earn any minutes, despite Jimmer Fredette continuing to struggle and Francisco Garcia being Francisco Garcia.
The Kings post one of the worst records in the league. DeMarcus Cousins, one of the team's lone bright spots, is publicly disgruntled. He publicly demands a trade, citing the poorly run organization. Despite having lost the confidence of his star pupil, Keith Smart receives a 3 year contract extension. The Kings file for relocation to Anaheim, and are approved pending a hefty relocation fee. Henry Samueli helps the Maloofs cover the fee with a personal loan. Shortly after the team relocates, Samueli exercises a convoluted clause in the loan documents, and forcibly takes controlling ownership of the Kings.
Tyreke Evans plays an integral role in Atlanta's playoff run. Jeff Teague, Tyreke Evans, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Al Horford prove to be one of the most effective starting fives in the NBA. The Hawks earn the 2 seed in the East, and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals as Tyreke Evans dominates Chicago in the deciding Game 6. Although the Hawks fail to advance to the Finals, the season is viewed as Tyreke's coming out party, and he is without question one of the best young stars in the game.
Beal falls out of the league following his rookie contract, and is viewed as one of the biggest busts in NBA history.