A lot of people were talking about how the Phoenix Suns' playoff hopes rested on how well Michael Beasley performed.
So far, it is tough to know if that is still true. Beasley is averaging 11.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists a game, but much of that is coming in the first three quarters of the game.
That is because Beasley has sat on the bench for the entire fourth quarter in just under half of the Suns games this year, Paul Coro of Arizona Central writes.
Even when he has made it in, Beasley has struggled in the crunch time minutes of the fourth quarter. He has played 53 fourth-quarter minutes so far this season, and is shooting just 25 percent. Overall, he has struggled to find his shooting touch, hitting just 38.9 percent of his shots -- worst of all of the Suns players seeing minutes.
Despite his struggles, Beasley still thinks he is the man to go to with the game on the line.
"That's what I'm still looking for," Beasley told Coro. "That's what is so frustrating and so disheartening. I want that role so bad. I feel like I am that player that we need. I haven't had a chance, or maybe I haven't taken the opportunity to show it."
Beasley is not known for his defense in NBA circles, and often finds himself looking from afar in crunch time because of that.
"I feel like I'm playing pretty decent defense," Beasley said. "I'm not grip pliers. I'm not going to clamp, but who does? The NBA is about scoring points. I don't feel like anyone is playing head and shoulders above me. I feel like I'm getting into my rotations and doing what I'm supposed to do on the defensive end."
Suns coach Alvin Gentry told Coro he is seeking consistency from Beasley and the rest of the team. The Suns are fading to the bottom of the Western Conference, largely because of their failures on the road, where they are 2-8.