Michael Beasley ‘better as a player’ in new era of position-less basketball

Posted by on July 22nd, 9:00 am

Michael Beasley is the kind of talented, versatile player perfectly suited to this new position-less NBA. (Photo by Michael Schwartz/ValleyoftheSuns)

Michael Beasley is the kind of talented, versatile player perfectly suited to this new position-less NBA. (Photo by Michael Schwartz/ValleyoftheSuns)

PHOENIX — When you look at the composition of the Phoenix Suns’ roster, it seems obvious that Michael Beasley will be spending quite a bit of time at the small forward spot.

After all, before the Shannon Brown signing, Jared Dudley was the only natural wing on the entire roster whereas the Suns can field an entire starting five composed of power forwards if they so choose.

Yet when asked about Beasley’s position at Friday’s press conference multiple times, neither Beasley nor head coach Alvin Gentry really answered the query straight on. Finally, after the presser I asked Beasley if positions even matter anymore.

“They really don’t,” Beasley said. “You’ve got a guy like LeBron James playing the power forward but still playing the point guard on offense, Kevin Durant playing center but still playing two guard, so I feel like as long as you’re a player the position doesn’t really matter.

“I just play. I feel like small forwards are too small, power forwards are too big, too slow. So one thing I’ve learned how to do over the years is take what the defense gives me. Give me a jump shot, take jump shots. Give me a path to the basket, I do that. They double team me, I give up the ball. So I really know how to play both positions. Whatever position I play whether it be two, three or four I just [play].”

This leads us back to the point Beckley Mason made on TrueHoop about there being no such thing as a “tweener” anymore.

Mason writes:

These “tweeners” are all 6-8 or shorter, and have the following working against them:

  • Smaller than traditional power forwards (example: Kenneth Faried)
  • Have some perimeter skills but not perimeter quickness (Derrick Williams)
  • Or some combination of the two (like Paul Millsap).

What to do with such players? Make them small “fours” or beefed up “threes?” It has long been an NBA conundrum, especially because plenty of quality players fit this rough description.

It’s a conundrum, however, to which a clear solution is emerging: In today’s NBA, they’re all power forwards.

To the Suns, these players should just be called basketball players.

“Michael can be a three or a four and — who knows — maybe even a two,” said head coach Alvin Gentry. “I just think that when you’ve got good players you can put them out on the floor and you can put them in a situation where they can be successful, so the versatility that Michael has is going to be great.”

The NBA in 2012-13 is a matchup game, and although Beasley won’t exactly make the Suns “position-less” like the Heat, his unique skills will lead to more matchup advantages.

In the past the Suns have used the Nash pick-and-roll to create advantageous opportunities either through a switch mismatch or by help leading to a wide open jump shot. With that option now in Los Angeles, the Suns will rely on Beasley to create some of these opportunities, especially with a dearth of players who can create on their own outside of Goran Dragic.

“I think he can be a go-to facilitator where you give him the ball and he creates situations where he either makes the shot or makes the play that gets someone the shot,” Gentry said. “We need that person. We’ve talked about it a lot. We need that person you can throw the ball to who maybe not necessarily scores the point but makes the play that’s going to win games for you, and I think Michael has the ability to do that.

“I like his versatility from the standpoint you can play him as a small forward or a three man and have an advantage as far as post-ups and things like that. You can also play him as a four man and have an advantage as far as going around guys out on the floor. One of the things we talk about as a coaching staff is we’ll have him handle the ball some in screen-and-roll situations. He’s making the play and we’ve got the ball in his hands. We’re very excited about some of the versatility he brings to our team.”

Versatility is the name of the game in today’s NBA and Beasley brings that in spades. He also brings the potential for elite talent, and as we have all surveyed the post-Nash landscape, it’s something the Suns lack in a big way.

To the Suns’ talent guy, general manager Lance Blanks, the 23-year-old Beasley would be at the top of the draft board had he been eligible for selection in the 2012 draft based on that talent he oozes.

“I’m as excited as I’ve ever been in my whole career to welcome this young man into our organization,” Blanks said. “It makes sense because we need talented basketball players, and this is one of the most talented players in the league right now. We need talented players as we move into a new era for the organization.”

Added Gentry, “It’s very seldom that you’re able to acquire a guy with the talent level of Michael.”

Beasley is unquestionably a gamble. Based on what he has actually produced and the ups and downs that have gone along with it, the Suns are perhaps overpaying at $6 million a year.

Yet with that supreme versatility and talent in a 23-year-old package, the Suns are gambling on Beasley’s potential. If he ever does figure it out the Suns could have a rising young star for barely more than the mid-level exception, and that’s the kind of gamble the Suns must take as they attempt to rebuild with cap space more than high lottery picks.

As for his position, well, perhaps there will be a day when players are characterized by their skills more than their “position.” For now, Beasley will most certainly be the Suns’ starting small forward, yet in reality he will just be a forward who can take advantage of mismatches and create scoring opportunities for his teammates.

“Honestly, I think I’m better as a player,” Beasley said. “Just put me on the floor, I’ll adjust to whatever we’re doing offensively and defensively, and I make good things happen.”

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Michael Beasley · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Analysis

38 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Andy // Jul 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Michael, thanks for a good and interesting read. The concept of “positionlessness” has been interesting one for me personally. My wife has really only started to pay close attention to basketball in the last five years. And for her, this is something that has driven her crazy almost from day one. Watching the way the game is played today, she just doesn’t see the point of positional labels. And in trying to explain them to her, I’ve really come to realize how much of my thinking about them is colored by the way things USED to be, rather than the way they are in today’s NBA. I’m sure she’ll feel vindicated when I mention this post to her. Also, I appreciate you all bringing this up and talking it over at the press conference. I certainly think this question is one of the bigger ones around which this year’s team is going to hinge.

    With all of that said, I understand why someone with hope for the upcoming season would write this article, and I absolutely hope that this is how it turns out. But I don’t see how any of what we’re talking about above is supported in Beasley’s NBA career so far. While positions certainly are more fluid, it’s not like he’s sometimes better at SF and sometimes better at PF, depending on the fit. In all three years he’s played major minutes at either slot, he’s been better as a power forward, and subpar as a small forward. It’s not that people don’t know how to describe his game, or where he can contribute. Even by the old standards of positional measures, his outcomes seem fairly clear. In that way, I don’t see him as a great fit for this concept. He does not read like a guy without a position, but rather like a guy often playing out of position. We’ve seen teams try him as a “forward exploiting scoring opportunities who just happens to line up at the small forward slot” – it hasn’t gone so hot.

    I won’t throw yet more data out there. I’ve had several posts going on about his splits in the past, and there really isn’t any argument against the fact that, up until this point, he’s been a subpar 3, even offensively, and even when given plentiful opportunities in the past. I suppose it’s possible our coaching staff will come up with a wrinkle that Erik Spoelstra (a championship winner being advised by Pat Riley), Rick Adelman (coach of some of the best, most versatile forward-driven offenses in NBA history), and Kurt Rambis (…owner of some pretty swell glasses and a great mustache?) were unable to see that will make Beasley a top-flight talent at that position. But it is a hell of a gamble. And now that we’ve spent ourselves out of the running for a max player for 2 of the 3 years that we have a value contract, even if it DOES payoff, I’m still not sure how this gamble makes sense for building a team in the long run. It sure seems to me that, even if he really pays off, it’ll be time to pay him like an All-Star as soon as we have the freedom to build a team around him.

  • 2 Andy // Jul 22, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    And also, I understand that Beasley is “only” 4 seasons into his NBA career. But in the past 5 years, I can find only 1 non-center who has made the All-Star game without having achieved a PER of at least 17.5 once in their first 4 1000+ minute seasons: Mo Williams, who actually hasn’t hit that mark in his career to date. That really was a weird pick. (And that 1000+ mark isn’t as nitpicky as a glance at Beasley’s numbers might indicate: While Beasley only just topped 1000 minutes last year, if you prorate his MPG over a regular length season, he would have been over 1800. He certainly didn’t lack for involvement in his team’s plans like, say, Gerald Wallaces string of 400ish minute seasons to start his career.)

    However, even if we just look at all seasons, counting injured years or years where players didn’t play, no one took longer than 5. (Steve Nash, Chauncey Billups, Joe Johnson, and Gerald Wallace). Those names give us some hope – frequently changing teams and coaches seems to be the most sure-fire way to create this kind of late-blooming All-Star. If we count Beasley as basically having undergone three team changes in four years (fair, I think, given the vast difference between personnel and coaching philosophies in his two Minnesota years) he seems to fit that description. So if our hope is that Beasley is going to become an All-Star level talent, we should all have our fingers crossed for next year. After next season, I think we should more or less have an answer. If he’s not producing at that level then, by recent standards, at least, it goes from extremely unlikely to (almost) unprecedented to have him come through later.

  • 3 Richard // Jul 22, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Colangelo said you had to take risks when trying to find the best players. He did take numerous risks over the years and it seems the Suns are following this idea.

  • 4 Russell // Jul 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Is he really wearing the number “0″ ? Last guy to wear zero was Aaron Brooks. They couldn’t find him another number? how about something in the 20′s or 30′s or 40′s? or teens? anything is better then Zero.

    how about his old K State #30? C’mon now.

  • 5 Jon J // Jul 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Suns definitely took a risk giving Go-Easy Beasley $18 mil over 3 years, but I think it pays off.

    if he’s true to his word then his quickness for his size and once-comparable features to guys like Carmelo and LeBron will allow him to be a big part and maybe even the face of the team as the Suns rebuild

    He’s 23 and seems more mature, and I bet watching his childhood buddy Durant compete in the NBA finals was a sobering experience (no pun intended)

  • 6 Ty-Sun // Jul 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    There was a lot of pressure on Beasley to perform in his first 2 years in Miami. Then he was sort of cast aside to Minnesota where he lived in the shadow of Kevin Love. I think coming to Phoenix will be good for him. At this point no one is expecting much of Phoenix next year or of him. It’s really a new start in a low pressure situation which could make a big difference in how he plays. I’m NOT saying that it will but I’m far from saying that signing him was a mistake.

    And Beasley’s best statistical year was 10-11 when he was the starting SF in Minn with Love at the PF. He scored 19.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg and 2.2 apg. Last year he started only 7 games and saw his playing time drop by almost a 3rd.

    Beasley, I hope you’re reading this. I’ll be cheering for you and I’m glad you’re with the Suns!

  • 7 Andy // Jul 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    @Ty-Sun,
    In re. 2010-2011, if you look at his statistics broken down by what position he was playing while he accumulated them, here:
    http://www.82games.com/1011/10MIN12.HTM#bypos

    you can see that he actually wasn’t playing that well at SF, even if that’s where he “started”. His best numbers came at PF, though he spent more time at SF.

  • 8 Ty-Sun // Jul 22, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Well, if his best numbers came at PF “though he spent more time at SF” during his best statistical year then I’m still NOT sold on him being a bad addition to the Suns. If you think that the Suns will ONLY play him at the 3… well, they won’t. He will have some time at the 4 too. Will it all work out? I have no idea. I’m just a Suns’ fan that is hoping for the best… because that is all I can really do.

  • 9 bk // Jul 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    In ideal case, Suns will need to extend his contract to MAX in year 3. I don’t think the Suns has enough cap to sign another Eric Gordon next year.

  • 10 Scott // Jul 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    In a sense, Beasley is Warrick with a 3 pt shot and a greater ability to create for himself. It’s hard for me to get enthused.

    And if Gentry pairs him up with Brown, I can see the offense getting clogged up, just like when Gentry illogically played Brown and Redd together last year (up till Hill became injured).

    I look at this roster and I conclude that not only does Blanks have no idea what he’s doing, but the same holds true for Gentry. It’s the same mistakes, over and over.

    I hope to be proven wrong on this, and to see the Suns be unexpectedly successful. But I don’t realistically expect to be wrong.

  • 11 Scott // Jul 22, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    BTW, for all the homers (with good intentions) who declared that Markieff was beasting it through Summer League play, please note he was not selected as a Summer League All-Star.

    However, an undrafted player from last year, Malcolm Thomas, who I repeatedly advocated that the Suns look at, DID win All-Star status for his play at PF. As did Jae Crowder, SF, another player I called for who went in the 2nd round this year.

    Here’s the list of All-Stars:

    Malcolm Thomas (Chicago Bulls)
    Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
    Tobias Harris (Milwaukee Bucks)
    John Henson (Bucks)
    Jeremy Lamb (Houston Rockets)
    Dominique Jones (Dallas Mavericks)
    Cory Joseph (San Antonio Spurs)
    Jimmy Butler (Bulls)
    Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats)
    Donatas Motiejunas (Rockets)
    Jae Crowder (Mavericks)

  • 12 Scott // Jul 22, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    BTW, as a fun promotional idea, I think the Suns should dress Dragic and the rest of ‘em up in cowboy clothes and sell the Suns as a young “runnin’ and gunnin’” team.

    The catch phrase can be, “There’s a new sheriff in town.”

    And a follow up ad could be, “And a new Marshall.”

  • 13 Tony // Jul 22, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    @Scott,

    I couldn’t agree more with you on all accounts…, well except maybe the dressing up of Dragic as a cowboy lol!

    Morris didn’t deserve to be selected as an All-Star. It amazes me, how unobjective some people really are. You can’t shoot 40% as a big and make an all star team. His shooting, with the exception of the last game, has been atrocious. The same obviously goes for Marshall.

    As far as the Suns roster goes, if we go position by position, have they really improved the roster compared to last season’s roster? Dragic may be young and possibly a rising pg, but he certainly is not at Nash’s level. I still take Hill over Beasley anyday of the week too. Brown is back so they haven’t upgraded at all at the sg position. Scola is definitely a plus, abeit now the Suns have a log jam at pf. And, Lopez’s status is still up in the air. As far as Frye is concerned, his importance has been understated since he became a Sun and since he’s not likely to start the season, the Suns will sorely miss him.

    With all that being said, apparently all it takes to make some Suns fans happy is to bring in young players. For that, the Suns FO has succeeded, regardless of how it affects their record.

  • 14 Scott // Jul 22, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    @Tony -

    We agree … except for my Suns as “Young Guns” concept. That’s definitely a keeper.

    Gotta get Gortat in a white hat and chaps. :)

    As for Morris, he mainly looked good because A) the rest of the Suns were so bad, and B) they were instructed to pass him the ball as often as possible. So he got a ton of possessions. Even so, he didn’t look all that great in every game.

    I’m not at all against Morris, and I want him to succeed. I think some people aren’t being terribly realistic about him, though.

    As for the Suns improving the roster, I’d say they are at best even with where they were last year, and the only bright spots for the future are the youth of Dragic, Marshall, Morris, Dudley, Frye, and Gortat, and four of these six are likely to always be role players. Scola’s good, but he’s clearly a hired hand, as is Beasley. Brown, Warrick, and probably Lopez aren’t part of the future either.

    Long story short: Blanks is building the Suns with cracked bricks. He needs to get chucked before his contract expires. I don’t mind Babby, but I can do a better job than Blanks.

    Note to Suns FO: I’m available, but I’m not cheap. ;)

  • 15 Jason A. // Jul 22, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    @Tony

    “As far as the Suns roster goes, if we go position by position, have they really improved the roster compared to last season’s roster?”

    YES. How can you possibly look at this roster and not believe that? I think Dragic will be almost as good as Nash this year. Dudley is Duds. Beasley over Hill. Scola over Frye. Gortat. 2nd unit of Marshall, Brown, SF, Morris, Frye also improved.

  • 16 Shane // Jul 22, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    Completely agree with Jason.

  • 17 shazam // Jul 23, 2012 at 12:32 am

    “if we go position by position, have they really improved the roster compared to last season’s roster?”…the answer is yes..not measured by wins but measured by the ability to make trades…the new work agreement is starting to kick in (thats why scola was available for a song).. after next year great talent can be had with the draft picks and mid level pieces we have assembled..we will suck next year but then it will get interesting…so we hold our nose and hope a few of our players exceed realistic expectations and dragic scores 19 a game w/ 8 assists and only 3 turn overs

  • 18 Scott // Jul 23, 2012 at 12:46 am

    @Jason A. -

    Dragic will be different than Nash, in that he won’t run the team the same way, but he’ll be mostly better defensively, and should still be scoring. So I call it a wash there.

    If Brown and Beasley start on the wing, there will be a loss of defensive power, and both guys will dig into each other’s ability to score.

    Last year Gentry paired Dudley and Hill – two defensive guys – and consequently suffered from low offense. On the bench he paired two offensive guys, and thus suffered on defense.

    If Beasley and Dudley start, mixing O and D, it’s much better, but the results are still comparable to how the Suns played at the end of last year, when Hill dropped out and the combo of Brown and Dudley started.

    Scola should be roughly equivalent to Frye at PF, but he won’t be spreading the floor with 3s and there likely won’t be any improvement on rebounding or defense.

    With Nash out, Gortat probably won’t do quite as well on the pick and roll. However, we’ll call it “close enough.”

    And when we look at the bench, we’re looking at Lopez (?), Morris, Warrick (?), Brown, and Telfair/Marshall. The 2nd unit doesn’t stand out as being noticeably better than a very similar unit from last season. In fact, with Warrick instead of Redd, there could be a significant loss of playmaking ability and 3 pt scoring.

    Now, if the 2nd unit plays Frye at C when he comes back, that could be a significant improvement. And if Redd is re-signed, he could replace Warrick. But then you’d still have Redd and Brown competing for offense and providing near-matador defense on the wing.

    So … all in all … it’s hard for me to see where significant improvements come in.

  • 19 Tony // Jul 23, 2012 at 12:46 am

    @Jason,

    have you not watched Grant Hill play? When healthy, the guy’s one of the top perimeter defenders in the league. Who’s going to guard Durant, Kobe, James, Harden, etc.? Dudley or Beasley? Forget it. Other than the uniqueness of last season caused by the lockout, Hill has been exceptionally healthy the previous three seasons with the Suns. Furthermore, just because Beasley has talent doesn’t negate how bad he’s been the past two seasons. Why do you keep ignoring that?
    I do agree that Scola is better than Frye, so no argument there. However, Frye actually developed into a pretty good post defender last season, something Scola isn’t very good at doing.

    As far as Dragic is concerned, you may be right but then again, we really don’t have a large enough sample size to indicate how he will perform as a starting pg for an entire season. We see how easily his confidence can be shaken, so what happens when he hits the inevitable slump? Will he resort to the old Dragic or will this newfound confidence of his suddenly remain despite his proclivity towards losing it? I’m not suggesting that he hasn’t matured, it’s just that the uncertainty of how he will respond causes me to pause regarding how effective he will be over an entire season.

    Lastly, don’t forget about the importance of leadership, which was something Nash and Hill both excelled in. Who is going to replace those veteran leaders? Scola’s the oldest player on the team but being a new Suns player, his transition will most likely preclude him from establishing a leadership role.

  • 20 Scott // Jul 23, 2012 at 1:21 am

    To make it clear, I do like the Scola signing, in that it permits Frye to return to 2nd unit C, where I think he excels. Scola lacks the ability to spread the floor like Frye does, but he’s roughly equivalent in all other ways, and has a minor ability to create offense for himself and for others.

    And I do like the Marshall pick in the draft.

    But I think Brown and Beasley take the Suns down a familiar path that should preferably be avoided.

    @shazam -

    I don’t really see the Suns improving much on contracts. Yes, Childress has been amnestied, but that could have been done at any time.

    I think the Suns will want to keep Scola, so long as it allows them to move Frye to 2nd unit C. So I don’t think they’ll be moving his contract any time soon.

    My impression of Beasley is that there’s not a lot of interest. If the Suns get into a position where they want to trade him, it could be hard to find takers or decent compensation.

    Brown’s situation is a lot like Beasley’s, I’m afraid. The only benefit there is that the contract is short and small.

    So while the contracts aren’t as toxic as those of Warrick, Childress, and Turkoglu, we’re still not talking about hot trade potential. Just better than horrible. ;)

  • 21 Scott // Jul 23, 2012 at 2:24 am

    @Tony -

    I agree. I think the Suns may wind up looking to Dudley and Gortat for leadership. Not sure how that’s going to go, but at least those guys are energy guys who want better defense.

    Speaking of defense, unless the Suns acquire more defensive-minded players, Dudley is the only defensive player on the wing. Warrick, Brown, Beasley … they’re all mostly known for lack of defensive ability. Adding Redd to the picture won’t help, though as a rough gauge Redd’s higher PER suggests that maybe he’s the best player of the 4.

  • 22 KeZ // Jul 23, 2012 at 5:06 am

    Am I the only one who doesn´t like Frye´s game?

    His face expressions everytime he makes a foul is just painful to watch……

  • 23 Scott // Jul 23, 2012 at 5:49 am

    @KeZ -

    I don’t like Frye much as a PF, though he does tolerably well. I thought he played better as a C.

  • 24 Greg // Jul 23, 2012 at 6:05 am

    …You guys are complaining about Morris shooting 40% as a big in summer league but you guys are still advocating for “Zoran, the run and gun cowboy” who shot 21%.

    It sounds more like a cheap porno then a basketball marketing strategy. If the Suns go from the Steve Nash era into “Goran and his deputy Zoran!” then the Suns are in big troule PR wise.

    Beasley is only 23. He has never been in a role where he has been able to relax, and succeed. In Miami alot of pressure was on him to be a star from day one. He didnt handle that so well. In Minnesota he was trying to shake the bust label and be the guy on a bad team. He failed, and eventually found himself without a solid role.

    With the Suns, there is no pressure. His training and work ethic has increased, assuming his press conference comments were legit.The team is supporting him and he is entering a lockeroom of fun guys where he should blend right in. He has a new mentor that is really developing his game and him as a person. He is only 23! He is still a kid. This is the NBA, a mans game. Some players take longer to mature, and it takes them longer “to get it”. I hope he finally gets it, because physically, he could be a stud. Not every 23 year old has Durant’s poise and work ethic. If Beasley can find half of what Durant has in those aspects then we are going to get ourselves a very good player.

    This isnt a case where he is a 28 year old that has shown flashes, but never pulled it together. He isnt a guy that is losing his athleticism and losing his chance in the league. At 23, I have high hopes for him, no pun intended.

  • 25 Greg // Jul 23, 2012 at 6:09 am

    someone mentioned on here also that Scola’s post defense isnt very good? His perimeter defense struggles when he has to guard stretch 4′s, but post-wise he is a very solid, tough defender.

  • 26 Greg // Jul 23, 2012 at 6:19 am

    + summer league all-star comment

    If Memphis guard Josh Selby, at 24.2 PPG on 64% shooitng from 3 and 2.4 steals per game didnt make the list, then that prestigious label means nothing to me.

    The NBA summer league is no indication or guage of future success. Its a joke really that anyone puts any type of stock into the numbers.

    Adam Morrison averaged 20 PPG (55% from field 62% from 3pt)….Adam Morrison will never be a contributor for an NBA team. Ever. But his stats in the summer league show he is a prime talent.

  • 27 Scott // Jul 23, 2012 at 10:16 am

    @Greg -

    I will have to defer to your judgment on cheap pornos. ;)

    Beasley could be a better player if he directed himself more toward defense. However, in all the discussion in the article the concept of Beasley playing defense comes up only once. Most of the attention seems to be on the idea of Beasley helping the team by scoring.

    At the moment, I’m not sure Beasley will provide much scoring benefit above what Hill provided. Hill defended the other team’s best player and added 10 ppg. Last year Beasley averaged 11 ppg with questionable defense on his own man (not necessarily the other team’s best player). Now, sure, if you balance the minutes out between the two players (28 and 23, respectively), Beasley probably ends up scoring maybe 14 ppg. But how many more points will the other team score during the full 28 min. due to his defensive deficiencies compared to Hill? It’s probably more than 3 pts, and if so, it seems to me that Beasley as a replacement for Hill is a net loss.

    Zoran is, BTW, way ahead of Beasley on the potential meter. Zoran already has a high b-ball IQ, excellent motor, and focused defense. These are foundational qualities. All he needs now is dependable offense, which is the easiest thing to learn, plus gaining NBA experience. (Marshall is going to be learning offense and gaining NBA experience too, BTW.) Beasley, who is the same age as Zoran, really only offers offense. His motor is average, his IQ seems average to low, and his defense is reportedly low. Those things are the hardest for a player to improve on, so Beasley is probably already very close to his peak.

    FWIW, Josh Selby WAS on the All-Star list, but in a separate category. He and Damian Lillard were co-MVPs. I accidentally omitted that information when I copy/pasted.

    I agree there is limited value to numbers taken from Summer League play. That’s why I don’t look at the numbers, but rather at how people play.

    Again, I use the example of Jeremy Lin. He looked exceptional when playing and could hold his own against top SL talent. I doubt his numbers blew anyone away, but his potential was evident.

  • 28 Shane // Jul 23, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Please no Zoran Dragic, he sucks.

  • 29 Greg // Jul 23, 2012 at 11:07 am

    @ Scott
    not sure about our arguement with Beasley vs Hill productivity. Look inside the stats, Grant Hill was pretty good, but nothing elite or even great defensively. Somewhat of a misconception that the 39 year old vet is a big time stopper, he isn’t, but he makes guys work for their points.

    Saying Beasley will only score 14 at best? Why are you comparing his last season to Grant’s? Beasley was riddled by injuries whole season, making it hard for him to maintain his rotation spot. You can see in his game logs that the games before and after the games he missed due to injury were affected. He didnt even have a solid role or consistent minutes. the year before he scored 19.2 points per game, so why is 14 the limit? So to compare an inconsistent, banged up year for Beasley is not fair or even make any sense. Grant Hill is what he is. The only thing he can do from here is further decline. Beasley is only 23, and he has scored 14+ points in all 3 seasons prior to last season. So 14+ points is guarenteed if he gets 30-35 mins a game, which he will obviously.

    Your arguement about Hill being just as productive is false. A good defender and an average/below average defender is a matter of a few points per game. Beasley can carry a team with his scoring, Hill cant carry a team with his defense. Beasley is not such a horrible defender in comparison to Grant that he will give up 5 more baskets a game.

    Beasley had a stretch in the first two months of the season in 2010 where he averaged

    23 PPG 6 rebounds 1 block while shooting 48 percent from the field and 42% from 3pt range. Numbers like that put him next to Carmelo, and on much higher percentages. (2 month sample, but stills shows his capabilities)

    Those are outstanding numbers. I feel we are gonna get closer to that then closer to his injury filled 2012 season, where his role was not at all defined or consistent.

    And ofcourse Zoran is ahead of Beasley on the “potential meter”. Thats not hard to judge, Beasley has had 4 years in league and has show flashes of what he can do.

    Zoran has no experience and has shown nothing to anyone, in his summer league minutes he showed he is a hustle guy that is no where near ready offensively for the NBA and posted pathetic numbers. So yes, obviously the potential meter is higher because we have seen a little of Beasley performing well, and ZERO of Zoran playing well.

    Numbers wise for the summer league, i meant you can put too much stock into guys “over performing”. However, if you are supposedly near NBA ready, which Zoran is in your opinion, you cant shoot 20% from the field and expect to get taken seriously. Terribly poor numbers are better indicators then terribly excessive performance. And saying “numbers didnt blow anyone away” is one thing, but Zoran showed us nothing but hustle and defense, and that defense would look much worse against real NBA comp.

    for the record Lin averaged 9 points 3 boards 2 assists in only 18 mins. 52% from field 67% from 3 and 70% from the line. (atleasy his production was on superb efficiency)

    Verdict. Zoran is a talented player who does a lot of nice things on the basketball court. He has a high motor and is a quality defensive player with good length in the backcourt. He can’t shoot, at all. His offensive game is limited to left handed drives to the basket.

    AKA-he is multiple years away from being a factor, just like his brother was.

  • 30 Tony // Jul 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    @Greg,

    I never said anything Zoran Dragic so please don’t put words in my mouth. I’ve never even seen him play, all I know about him is that he’s Goran’s brother. Anyway, it shows how little you know about basketball to compare field goal percentages of a guard with a power forward. PFs and Cs’ are supposed to have higher fg percentages relative to the wing players. It’s basketball 101, bigs are closer to the basket, where they get more of their shots. Perimeter players shoot from the outside, hence the lower percentage. A pf shooting 40% against summer league competition is astonishingly bad.

    As far as Beasley is concerned, yes he’s young and yes he’s full of potential, so no argument there. But other than one good season, he’s been a bust and comparing him to Hill at this point is ludicrous. Hill is a great perimeter defender, not a good one and out of all the Suns players, he was the best at running and scoring in transition. Beasley’s lack of perimeter defense will most likely negate much of his volume scoring on 44% shooting.

  • 31 Greg // Jul 23, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    what the hell is your deal Tony? i never addressed you individually or say @ Tony, in that post. i was speaking on the subject in general. someone on here said go get zoran. I am saying, if some people complain about Morris shooting 40%, then why do people want Zoran at 20%, which is awful at any position.I never said you wanted zoran. never associated you with zoran.

    @ Tony Bottom line is i never argued for or against anything you said in your entire post about me so you are a dumbass.

    @ Tony So seriously, dont come at me when i wasnt even talking to you specifically.

    @ Tony I never said 40% was good? did i? Did I say, @Tony, hey 40% is good, its better then 20%! no i never said that. you literally created an imaginary argument.

    @ Tony i know very little about basketball? do you agree that 20% is bad for a guard? is 40% bad for a power forward? when did i said either was good? when did i actually compare the two? I said dont complain about 40% but then their are others who want a 20% summer leaguer…..thats all i fuc**** said. wasnt at you, it was at suns fans on here in general.

    @ Tony Keep in mind, summer league shots are not nba shots. Dan Majerle probably told Morris, (fire away kid). I am sure he forced tons of shots trying to work on his game. see what shots fall, which ones dont, what moves work, which ones dont, etc, leading to a poorer percentage.

    @ tony So 40% in the summer league for a guy like Morris is not as bad as it looks. and shows how much you know, Morris only took 25% of his shots at the rim last season, he is not a post player. and he shot way more threes and way more outside shots that zoran. So your bigs vs wings (bigs are expected to shoot better) is completely lost in this argument you created because Zorans game is penetrating and getting to the rim. Markief features a mid range and 3 pt game he was working on.

    @ tony regardless, i wasnt directly comparing the two anyway, and i wasnt trying to create a debate about 40% being good or bad. never said any of it. idiot.

    @ Tony i compared beasley to hill for one season and the future? how is that ludicrous?? for saying beasley will be better then hill moving forward? ( it meant grant hill and the rest of his career not their entire careers in comparison, you are an idiot for even thinking thats what i meant) and if you think the Suns would be better off with Hill then Beasley LOL,

    Hill shot less then two shots a game at the rim….so yea hes good in transition but he never really gets there….and beasleys better then a 44% shooter, that was an injury filled, lack of consistent role, season. everyones looking at last season as the blue print for beasley. why? it was an off year,
    the guy has shown he can score 22+ for a sustained period. as mentioned, a good defender and an average defender is only points per game more or less defensively( for example good defender allows 15 to a guy, average allows 19 to same guy)….if Beasley scores near 20, it will not negate much of his scoring. Im pretty sure HIll allowed more then he scored for sure.

    @ Tony, to sum this all up, i hope you reread my post, and reread yours, and realize it wasnt directed at you, and the points you tried to cleverly argue of mine were never EVEN MADE BY ME

  • 32 Tony // Jul 24, 2012 at 12:54 am

    @Greg,

    I’m the only who mentioned his shooting percentage of 40%. Hence, when you referred to people complaining about his shooting percentage but praising Zoran Dragic, it’s only reasonable to assume you were including me with that group.

    Of course 20% is horrible for any position and once again, I’m not advocating for Zoran Dragic whatsoever. But his shooting 20% has no bearing on Morris shooting only 40%. So what’s the point in even comparing them? Furthermore, just because Morris takes more of his shots away from the basket doesn’t disprove anything about his shooting. If anything, it shows he still hasn’t developed enough of a post game to utilize against summer league competition.

    In sum Greg, when you generalize a point about which someone else specifically addresses and then you attempt to refute by bringing comparing it someone else’s claim about a different player, it’s only reasonable to conclude that you are referring to both people.

  • 33 Greg // Jul 24, 2012 at 5:39 am

    yes you were the one complaining about 40%, but i made no ties to you and zoran. and i wasnt comparing for the 5th time cant you read?

    all i said, is if someone (and that was you) can complain with a justified 40% bad shooting percentage (which for summer league i disagree with you, but maybe you didnt read my reasoning)
    then how can other people cry for a guy that shot 20%?

    I never directly compared the two players. so i dont see why you keep saying i did.

    Yes…he isnt a post player. thats why he hasnt developed a post game. Amare Stoudemire doesnt have a good post game….some forwards just dont
    go down there. some players, like Morris, are wired to shoot outside more. Michaels post about positionless basketball makes my point. Just because Morris is a “4″ on the court, does not mean his offensive efficiency should match that of a 4.

    Agreed 40% (actually it was 42%) is bad, but in the summer league when you are jacking up 17 shots a game and you are a young player working on different parts of your offense….42% is not that awful…and if you cant see my point i dont think its worth discussing with you anymore. If Morris shot, hmm only 10 shots a game, shot 50% in the summer league, how would that help his game? Point of the summer league is to work on things, not worry about your percentages.

    i understand your reasoning to conclude i was talking about you, but i wasnt. you never mentioned zoran, so i figured you would assume i am not aiming it at you, because i dont claim people say things they dont like you do quite often

    regardless if it was at you or not, your whole entire first post revolved around topics i didnt even bring up. i was not comparing their percentages in an analytical fashion, it was simply saying you bashed 40%, but people are crying for 20% its more of me being disgusted with the people crying for Zoran than it was at you, people i agree with you, 40% is bad. so i was putting your complaint up to say, hey if this is a complaint, what the hell are you guys talking about? So you took it out of context. it was at them, not you.

  • 34 Greg // Jul 24, 2012 at 5:41 am

    for zoran than it was at you, i agree with you 40% is bad**

  • 35 JT's Hoops Blog // Jul 24, 2012 at 7:41 am

    I’ll be rooting for Beast-ly. he was so awesome in college and has the tools to be an Allstar. Personally I think he got the shaft in Minnesota because of the Glut of PFs in Minnesota

  • 36 Greg // Jul 24, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Well theres a glut of PF in PHX too so hopefully he works out as the 3/defending other 3s

  • 37 Michael Beasley Musings | Ball Cruncher // Jul 24, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    [...] Gentry has gone as far to suggest Beasley will be a go-to player for the Suns.  ”We need that [type of] person.  We’ve talked about it a lot.  We need that person you can throw the ball to who maybe not necessarily scores the point but makes the play that’s going to win games for you, and I think Michael has the ability to do that.” [...]

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