Beasley Says He Can Rise With Suns

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DALLAS – As Michael Beasley slammed a chicken tenders basket at his locker about 90 minutes before his Phoenix Suns were to face the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, he seemed more pleased with the savory french fries than digging up the past yet again.

“These fries are good, man,” Beasley said between shoveling handfuls of the greasy goodness into his mouth.

Beasley’s first season with the Phoenix Suns, one promising a fresh start on what some might hail as an overly generous three-year, $18 million contract considering his past work history, has not been so tasty for Suns fans to digest.

The former No. 2 pick has been bad, so bad that halfway through the first half of the season he lost his starting job on what is now the worst team in the Western Conference. The saving grace at this point for the Suns and their leery fans would seem to be that the final $6.25 million on Beasley’s third season, in 2014-15, is non-guaranteed.

But Beasley, sounding as honest as when he critiqued those fries, said he wants to be the guy who helps turn this once-proud franchise that rose to great heights on the sturdy, trustworthy and fan-friendly shoulders of Steve Nash.

“That’s the plan,” said Beasley, who turned 24 earlier this month and remains a 6-foot-10, 235-pound and heavily tattooed enigma. “Hey, I definitely want the fans to support me and understand me, but I realize with my past, it’s a long shot.”

On Jan. 2, just two months into the season and three weeks after veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell tweeted that a Suns source deemed Beasley “toxic,” a headline in the USA Today screamed: “Michael Beasley has bottomed out in Phoenix.”

Already? Was it true?

“Tomato, to-mah-to, I guess,” Beasley said. “It really don’t matter. Only thing you can do is look forward to the future. I realize what I’m doing — career-low in every category. But it’s time to, like I said, I’m going to go hard. I feel like if I play hard, I have great games, not even great games, good games. I haven’t had a good game yet, haven’t had a great game in a while. If I play hard I have good games, we win most of the time.”

Interim Suns coach Lindsey Hunter, who served as director of player development before being promoted in the wake of Alvin Gentry‘s recent firing, said he worked closely in his previous post with Beasley and earned a mutual trust, yet he’s at a loss to explain the player’s early missteps when this was supposed to be a fresh start, a clean slate.

Yet, through Hunter’s words comes the depth of the task at hand to transform this young, often troubled player who has no practical foundation of discipline or even organization to build upon, into a cornerstone of a franchise, or at the least, a reliable teammate.

“He’s still growing. He has a lot of room to grow and I think he’s willing to do that. And we’re challenging him,” Hunter said. “He’s been on a couple of different teams and people have given up on him. We feel like if we give you all the tools you need to get yourself together than we’re giving you a great opportunity and you should take advantage of it. And he has.

“He’s wanting to change, wanting to get himself together, get himself, like, have a schedule for himself,” Hunter continued. “Those are things we take for granted, but Mike has probably never done that in his life. And so once we get him to understanding that, hey, put all this together and basketball will be easy, then he’ll be great.”

That day seems far away as the Suns’ front office is faced with no easy answers.

Beasley, as he attests, is averaging career lows across the board: 10.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 21.5 mpg and a 39.3 field-goal percentage. After rifling through the chicken finger basket and dressing for the game while rapping out loud the inaudible lyrics streaming through his headphones, Beasley managed 12 points on 4-for-10 shooting and four rebounds. He recorded a team-worst minus-17 in 20 minutes and the Suns lost for the 30th time in 45 games.

Beasley’s game was particularly disappointing coming off the previous night’s 25-point effort as the Suns went toe-to-toe with the Spurs in San Antonio before wilting late. In fact, in the previous six games, Beasley produced some of his best-scoring games of the season such as scoring 20 points in a win at Chicago after having gone five consecutive games with two points or less, and then 19 points in another rare road win at Sacramento.

Ever since his one season at Kansas State, nothing is certain with Beasley. Will he change? Is it possible? Only Beasley can really know if it is.

“It’s life. My past is my past and mine’s not pretty. Nobody has a pretty past,” Beasley said. “Everybody in the world did things they regret, are not proud of. I get that a lot from a lot of different people saying, ‘Man, in my 20s, you’ve got a long way to go to mess up as bad as I did.’ I say that because we all have pasts, every single one of us. Nobody’s perfect.

“We all have things we’re not that proud of, things we wish we could take back. The great ones learn from them and that’s what I did, I learned from my mistakes. The lunatics just make the same mistakes.”

By the final year of his deal, and for their sake hopefully sooner, the Suns will for sure know which one they’re dealing with.

18 Comments

  1. that guy says:

    this guy needs a tough coach who believes in him like jr smith and mike woodson or like tom thibodoeau and nate robinson or like rondo and doc

  2. mario says:

    If i was Beasley’s coach i d train him hard all summer in order to gain some muscle n i d forbid him to shoot long jumpers. Just attack the rim dude. That’s your strength, utilise it.

  3. Showmen says:

    The first 2 paragraphs sums it up for Beasley. This is supposed to be your turnaround/breakout year and you’re eating chicken tenders and fries in the lockerroom? Dude don’t get it. And before anyone replies that”there’s nothing wrong with that. A lot of players do the same”. Learn when and how to separate yourself from everyone else to fulfill your potential. Smh!

  4. John says:

    Yo Cj. I agree. There are plenty of player who can flat out score who don’t play defence. If gentry had just stuck with say 20 games Beas would of gained some confidence. Gortot beasly Morris brown and dragic isn’t too bad. The suns should be held accountable for their poor draft choice last year and with two first rounders next year (potentially both top 12) theft better get it right. They will probably take easy option and package beas and one of those picks.

  5. cj downs says:

    The only issue with Beasley is that he settles too much for the long jumpers. Everyone wants to say that he’s a bust but when he was drafted, he was the second best player(behind Wade) for the heat and his first year with the Wolves he almost averaged 20 pts but the next year he was benched for his lazy defense and wasn’t signed for that same reason. Now, with the Suns, Gentry expected him to put up 25 and 10 a night in 20 minutes and while also constantly changing the lineup from game to game. Even the best in the NBA will go 0 for 5 in a quarter but their coach gives them more playing time and they end up balling out the entire game. Anyone notice that the Suns were losing all their games until Gentry let Beasley play and they actually began to win a few? Now he’s made points in double figures with a new coach and his averages are going up? Yeah….whatever

  6. The guy is a waste, so much potential but never lived up to expectations… Good thing the Lakers didn’t trade Gasol for him last season

  7. Trade Deadline says:

    Maybe if we…

    Trade Jordan Hill for Michael Beasley
    Trade Steve Blake for Goran Dragic
    Trade Jodie Meeks for Jared Dudley
    Trade Darius Morris for Loius Scola
    Trade Robert Sacre for Marcin Gortart

    You’re Welcome.

  8. kobi says:

    i thnk he need to be in D-league just in case

  9. Game Time says:

    Usually I like hearing news about other teams that are not LAL, MIA, OKC, NY or SAN. This however is a story I could have done without.

  10. John says:

    I watched him in collge and he was so hungry. Nearly lead the nation in rebounds. Did everything. 6 10 will a shot and good handles. Breaks my heart watching him sag on defence and not follow his shot or box out. I just hope it all clicks for him. He is as good as a yound Derrick Coleman. Hope it doesent end the same way. Broke and out of the league too early.
    Suns will get two first rounders in next year, Beasly might be a bad influence on them. Might be time to move him on.

  11. Manuel says:

    I really hope that Beasley can turn it around. He reminds me of myself and other who had expectations placed on them and ostracized because they didn’t meet them. I believe he has become a simple for all of us “late bloomers. Keep going Beez. And you will become what you need to become. PHX for life!!!!!

  12. Manuel says:

    Did my comment post??

  13. big cat says:

    this guys a bum , I remember when the bulls almost took this idiot over derrick rose , Miami took Beasley 2nd overall , he’s on his 3rd team already , he’ll be out of the league in 2 yrs

  14. Bob M says:

    Michael Beasley has God-given gifts to play basketball. I don’t think anyone can deny those facts. After Minny, I thought that he would get it together and be an All Star. I guess I was wrong about that one. I pull for a player like him. He is 6″10 and 235 and runs like a dear. At times, he is a human highlight film. Get it together, Mike!! There are very few that were given the tools to play in the NBA, even fewer to play at a high level.

  15. Max says:

    Glad to see Beasley admit his past! So many players would never do that,so I say “Hats off” for Beasley. He really tried against SAT. I watched the game. Just that “HAIR DO??” now that takes the “Cake”. I love the improving Suns! Do no longer buy Sun’s tickets, but still love to watch them play. Love Jared,Gortat and of course Goran, as well as the other players. Suns can only do as other teams that has had a GREAT, who is no longer with the team, and say ‘oh remember when Sun’s had Nash”. Life moves on and Steve had to look out for his future and his JOB! Now. I follow those Lakers???DO NOT EVER SAY NEVER! LAKERS???ME???YA!!!!!

  16. Beasley needs more free throws says:

    He’s in the same boat as Danilo Gallinari. They can attack the basket, but they settle for the

    outside shot too often. Beasley just needs more freethrows. I was expecting him to play more like James Harden when

    the Suns signed him, ( attacking the rim and the defender) until I saw him shying away from contact……….

  17. Nash fan says:

    it would be great to see a DRAGON/BEAST combo… Dragic/Beasley 1-2 punch!