Michael Beasley and O.J. Mayo could both be members of the Phoenix Suns next season, according to Paul Caro of The Arizona Republic. And that just might be the perfect spot for the duo to finally live up to the hype they were surrounded by coming out of college.
Beasley and Mayo were the second and third overall picks in the 2008 NBA draft. Three members of that draft class have already reached superstar status—Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love. Eric Gordon is on the cusp of that level. Several other players selected the same night as Beasley and Mayo may have already found their niche in the league—Danilo Gallinari, Brook Lopez, Ryan Anderson and Serge Ibaka, among others.
But Beasley and Mayo and their careers are still surrounded by question marks.
Both played just one year of college basketball (two of many one-and-dones from the 2008 class) and lit up the nation while playing for their respective schools.
Beasley averaged 26 points and 12 rebounds a game while shooting 53 percent from the field and 38 percent from three-point range at Kansas State. He was so dominant that some felt he should have been the top pick in 2008 over Derrick Rose.
O.J. Mayo was once hailed as not only the next Michael Jordan, but the next LeBron James and the next Kobe Bryant as well. Expectations were off the charts before he ever stepped foot on campus at The University of Southern California.
As a freshman, he played extremely well, averaging 21 points and five rebounds a game while hitting 41 percent of this three-point attempts. Even with those lofty numbers, many felt he didn't quite live up to the hype. However, he did enough to convince the Memphis Grizzlies to select him at No. 3 overall.
Both Beasley and Mayo have had controversy swirling around them since before their NBA careers began. There are still questions on how exactly they wound up playing for the schools they did. Mayo has had issues with guns. Beasley has had issues with drugs. Both have been questioned for their attitude.
But even with all the off-the-court turmoil, we've seen flashes of how good these two can be. They were both relegated to bench roles last season, but they've shown they can produce in more prominent roles. Mayo averaged 18.5 points per game during his rookie season and Beasley averaged 19.2 points per game last year.
With Steve Nash almost certainly moving on, the Suns are looking to rebuild and have expressed interest in both Beasley and Mayo. Given the current makeup of their roster, both would likely start and play alongside pass-first point guard Kendall Marshall.
In Phoenix's run-and-gun system, the second and third picks from the 2008 draft could come together and form a very exciting, explosive and young duo.
They clearly have the ability to score over 20 points a game in the NBA. They just haven't been in the right situation yet. Perhaps the right one is for them to be together in Phoenix.
Andy Bailey is on Twitter: Follow @ AndrewDBailey
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