The Phoenix Suns currently sit at 7-15, which is the second-worst record in the entire Western Conference. The teams big offseason acquisition, Michael Beasley, has been of little help thus far.
Playing for his third team (Heat, Timberwolves) in five years, the former #2 overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft has found life in the NBA quite difficult.
Beasley signed a three-year, $18 million dollar deal with the Suns this offseason, with the hopes of perhaps becoming the team’s number one option on offense. With the Steve Nash era officially over, the franchise was looking for a fresh face to push as its guy for the future.
Since arriving, Michael has been more of a detriment than an asset.
On the season, Beasley is averaging 11.4 points on 38% shooting, as well as 3.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists a game. All of those numbers come at 27 minutes of action a night, which is four minutes more of playing time than he had last season in Minnesota, where he put up stronger numbers (11.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 45% shooting).
As a starter, those numbers won’t suffice, especially considering the struggles of the team and the pressure on him to elevate his game to take the franchise to the next level.
In fact, the Suns actually perform better when he’s not playing. The teams offensive rating is 100.1 when Beasley is on the court and 101.5 when he’s riding the pine. The team’s defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) is 96.2 when he’s on the bench and 114.9 when he’s on the court.
His play has been so poor, that head coach Alvin Gentry has officially moved him to the second-unit, with hopes that playing against opposing backups could pay dividends towards improving his overall play.
In the Suns 98-90 loss this past Sunday against the Orlando Magic, Beasley played just 15 minutes and put up three points (all of which came from the charity stripe). He was a complete non-factor in a game against a far lesser opponent (if at all possible).
Michael spoke out before Thursdays game against the Dallas Mavericks and talked about his struggles shooting the ball and the lack of success for this team.
“I’m frustrated with everything. I’m frustrated with my production, with the fact that our record is the way it is. My role is definitely going to be what I make it.
“I don’t know what it is. I come in every game optimistic about my play and my shots. It’s just not good right now and it’s not what anybody’s doing. It’s all me. I’m getting extra shots. I’m getting extra shots on top of extra shots. I’ve just got to be patient. Let the game come to me. Just sort of ride it out.
“Of course I’m frustrated because I visualize myself as something I’m not right now. Not to say I can’t be. As of right now, I’m not playing as well as I want to play or can play or as well as the team needs. Yeah, I’m frustrated but like I said just got to continue to do what I’m doing, work hard and ride it out.” (Coro)
Now to blame all of the Suns problems on one player would be silly. Phoenix gives up 103.1 points per game to their opposition, which is third worst in the league, just behind the Rockets and Bobcats. They also allow opponents to shoot 47.1% from the field, which is second from the bottom. Beasley can’t guard all five positions at a time, so it’s clear that a lot has to change for the Suns to rise again in the West.
With that being said, a lot more was to be expected out of Michael when he joined the team this summer. His two previous stints with Miami and the Wolves were far from impressive, so joining a high-octane offense like the one the Suns have where he could have the ball most of the time and take as many shots as he wants (11.6 to be exact, leads the team) would be the perfect situation for him.
Well, it’s clearly not.
From joking around during games, to hanging his head during rough stretches, Beasley doesn’t have the attitude nor the talent to be a starter in the NBA. As a reserve, perhaps he could thrive in a smaller role.
Would he accept that though?
There’s a reason why he hasn’t been able to keep a job in this league, going from team to team without ever really cementing a long-term future with a franchise.
With his role on the Suns decreasing more and more by the game, it’s completely plausible that management could look to move him before the trade deadline in February.
That’s probably for the best.
Michael Beasley and the Phoenix Suns are not a good mix.
The more I look at things, it’s hard to imagine many teams Beasley could fit well with at the moment.
Christopher Walder is the Lead Editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports