The noise that bothers Michael Beasley

Posted by on May 19th, 11:00 am

Stability hasn’t been there for the Phoenix Suns. The franchise has essentially required turnstyles just to keep their coaching and front office staffs in relative order. And for Michael Beasley, the combination of that and his personal instability caused the proverbial excrement to hit the fan during the 2012-13 season.

That was all innocent in comparison to the reports that a sexual-assault claim was filed against the Suns forward for a January incident. While that could be simply a case of an athlete being targeted for his fame, nothing can be good for Beasley’s image. He already had a legal issue with a January traffic stop for speeding that involved an expired license and a loaded firearm.

Beasley didn’t handle the season well on the court, either.

His three-year, $18 million contract and career-worst numbers put the pressure on. Alvin Gentry’s attempt to mold him into a playmaker and ballhandler didn’t force him to focus, neither did a benching and neither did Lindsey Hunter’s persistence in holding him accountable.

No matter the case, Beasley was consistently inconsistent. He never for more than a few games in a row flashed his talent that defined his success in high school and college. For that, the Phoenix brass has a difficult situation on its hands — it’ll be hard for the franchise to wash this off of them.

The numbers don’t make the offseason signing that made then-general manager Lance Blanks giddy with excitement look like a good one.

Of the Suns who played at least 15 percent of the available minutes, Beasley had the third-worst on-court plus-minus of -10.4, behind only Kendall Marshall’s -12.7 and Wesley Johnson’s -11.6. Beasley recorded the second-best off-the-court plus-minus on the team of -3.9, only trailing Markieff Morris’ -3.8, according to 82games.com. Beasley’s PER has fallen in every one of his five NBA seasons, and his effective field goal percentage (taking into account the value of a three-point shot) and true shooting percentage (which also accounts for threes and free throws) each hit all-time lows. According to HoopData.com and Basketball-Reference.com, his true shooting percentage was more than 4 percent lower than it has been in any of Beasley’s first four seasons.

Beasley was dead last in the NBA – 469th to be exact – in win shares with a figure of -1.5, according to Basketball-Reference.com.

Whatever the statistics might show, none harbor the value of his lack of consistency. None can lend evidence to what’s going on in Beasley’s head.

It could be argued that Phoenix was playing Beasley out of position. His defensive drifting often hampered him, but it appeared to trend up and down along with his offensive confidence. Toward the end of the season, Beasley found himself in the midst of one such streak of confidence. For a seven-game stretch beginning in the second half of March, he shot at least 50 percent in all but one of his games, and that was one miss shy of a 5-for-10 game. The streak culminated in a fine defensive effort against Blake Griffin – the 13-point game was dubbed by Hunter as Beasley’s best all-around performance of the year.

“I said, ‘Man I’m proud of you. I’m proud of you and I’m mad at you at the same time, because you could’ve been doing this all along,’ ” Hunter said.

Turns out Hunter was checking in on Beasley. During practice, he would ask Beasley questions to keep him alert, similar to a school teacher cold-calling on a student to make sure they weren’t daydreaming during class.

“I’ll randomly just ask him, ‘What did a certain coach just say?’ just to keep him focused,” Hunter said. “And he’s like, ‘Coach, I’m not talking.’ I say, ‘I know. But you’re listening to somebody, you’re doing something.’ ”

That night, Beasley pulled out a 25-point performance on 17 shots in a loss to the Golden State Warriors. Afterward, the forward did as much as he could to go against Hunter’s claims that Beasley was listening.

“The more I listen to people, the more I got to think about,” Beasley said. “Sometimes it messed me up, trying to think about 1,000 things. Stop listening to people.

“Just everybody. From my friends, to family, to teammates, to coaches. Just everybody.”

Hunter laughed off the season-defining quotes.

The comments, perhaps overly-dramatic ones, put the spotlight back on Beasley. Two days later, just as the stories and the commentaries of Beasley’s recent success had been published, he went 1-for-11 from the floor in 15 minutes against the New Orleans Hornets. The interview sessions weren’t necessarily accurate of Beasley’s thought-processes – maybe just poorly worded – but if they were more than that it wasn’t a good sign. His first talk of shutting out the noise that apparently bothers him came not in April, but at media day.

“You just don’t deal with it,” Beasley said. “You listen to it, take what you need, leave what you don’t. Play basketball.”

Before the year, Beasley was adamant he had few individual goals. Winning was of the highest priority, and his role in that would be what is necessary. Gentry had talked Beasley into becoming a pick-and-roll ball handler, and Jared Dudley said the question was what could come of Beasley after the scoring. Neither the scoring nor the playmaking came easily for the troubled forward. What Beasley sees in himself outside of the generalized “doing what it takes to help the team” seems to be the issue.

Beasley will admit to having high-percentile talent, as has everyone else who has witnessed his rare games of being focused and on point.

But until he proves that the noise from the media, his off-court dealings and his on-court struggles isn’t impacting the simplicity he mentions in just playing ball, Beasley’s basketball upside looks more like a downside.

As of now, it’s too loud for Beasley to find success.

Kevin Zimmerman is the lead blogger and editor for Valley of the Suns. He is also editor of AZDesertSwarm.com, an Arizona Wildcats\’ blog, and a contributor at SB Nation and Pac-12.com.

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Tags: Michael Beasley

24 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Scott // May 19, 2013 at 11:26 am

    This is a complete non sequitur, but have you seen the new Pelicans logos? They’re actually a bit tough looking, so kudos to the design team.

    They borrowed from motorcycle art, which was genius.

    http://sinbapointforward.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/new-orleans-pelicans-logo-2.jpg

    http://www.pelicansteamstore.com/img/product/resized/094/00442135-011094_catl_500.jpg?k=3017e76b&pid=442135&s=catl&sn=pelicans

  • 2 Scott // May 19, 2013 at 11:42 am

    BTW, I see that after the Combine Archie Goodwin has slid down to #28, the Spurs’ pick, on DX. (Can the Suns buy another guard from the Spurs?)

    Steven Adams leapt up 10 spots from #26 to #16.

    Tim Hardaway climbed up to the first spot in the 2nd round, and Ricky Ledo to the 3rd. Snell is now 7th in the 2nd round.

    The NBA lottery is Tuesday.

  • 3 foreveris2long // May 19, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Scott I think Hawk was trying to get us to buy Hardaway stock because he was climbing. I like him a lot and if either he or Snell is available at #30 we should bite. I read today some GMs may slow their roll on Noel for his weight issues. I definitely saw the praise for Steven Adams, which they felt may have boosted him to a lottery pick.

  • 4 azbballfan // May 19, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    I heard a rumor from hoopshype.com that the Blazers want Oladipo and are considering trading up to get him

    if the Suns end up with Oladipo, it would take a really good package in my opinion from Portland to let him go

    something like Oladipo, Gortat, and Beasley for Meyers Leonard, Portlands lotto pick, Wes Mathews Jr, and a future 1st

    That will fill Gortats center role, fill a huge hole at shooting guard, save the Suns money and net us two picks

    The Suns could then take Portlands pick and the 30th pick and package it with say jared dudley to say Charlotte for the 2nd pick and get Mclemore or Bennett or whoever fits the best

    so then you would have a lineup of Dragic, Mclemore, Mathews, Morris Leonard

    if Portland presented me an offer similar to this, i would have to think about it, we would have to weigh getting some good young talent and savings back and draft picks but giving up a a player that could be the starting shooting guard for the next 10 plus years

    If the Suns did poorly again in 2014 we could add say, Julius Randle or Parker or Wiggins to that mix then it would be

    Dragic, Mclmore, Parker/Wiggins then Morris or Randle then Lenoard

    with Mathews off the bench and Marshall plus that 2nd 2st rounder from Portland

    i cant wait for the lottery on the 21st

  • 5 Keith // May 19, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Waiving Beasley is one of the easiest decisions McDonough will make. I can’t wait.

  • 6 bill.thomas // May 19, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    @Azbballfan:

    What is that you’re smoking and where can I get some of it?

    And who is teaching your Creative Writing 101 course?

  • 7 Scott // May 19, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    I doubt Portland would take a Gortat-for-Leonard trade, but I’m up for it. :)

    Speaking of Gortat trades …

    One team that might want Gortat is Atlanta. With a veteran center they could move Horford back to PF. And if the Hawks re-sign Devin Harris, Gortat will have a right-handed PG to pick and roll with.

    I don’t know what could or should be done in the trade, but Atlanta has the 17 & 18 picks, which according to projections on DX could turn into Dieng and Franklin. They also have #47 in the 2nd round, which DX projects to be Nemanja Nedovic.

    If there are no better deals, I’d give Gortat, Dudley, and the twins for those 2 picks and the Atlanta 2nd rounder, provided it’s done during the draft and the Suns have guys they want at 17 and 18.

    Basically, I’m in a mood to clean house.

    FWIW, Atlanta could actually use all of those players at those spots, especially if – as I suspect – they’re planning on parting ways with Josh Smith and Kyle Korver.

    I would also trade Gortat back to Orlando if the Magic was willing to part with any of their young core (Vucevic, Harris, Harkless, Nicholson).

    And I would trade Gortat to Dallas, if that fits their scenario, for their first and second round picks. (Might as well ask for their 2nd rounder too, because they probably are going to be looking to stockpile free agents for one last run and won’t have use for a 2nd rounder.)

    Assuming nobody falls, the two Dallas picks could be used for Schroeder or Adams, plus maybe Livio Jean-Charles.

    I hope McD makes some smart and brave moves this off-season.

  • 8 hawki // May 20, 2013 at 12:06 am

    I’m not one to play with the stock market but there should be 3 or 4 intriguing choices for the Suns at # 30.

    I think Hardaway Jr will most likely be gone by then but ya never know….haven’t seen much of Snell & I still like Livio Jean-Charles.

    The new regime can’t possibly be as bad as the last one in evaluating talent.

  • 9 bill.thomas // May 20, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Nemanja Nedovic??

    I feel like I’m already fluent in East European language and culture !!!

    Hey, cabbie !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 10 hawki // May 20, 2013 at 12:32 am

    I’m all for any trade that nets the Suns extra picks (or young players ie:Harkless) while cleaning out a lot of the flotsam laying around.

    Yeah, I think AzBball has some good stuff & is holding out on us.
    Was watching Anthony Bourdain last night over in Morocco & they had this stuff called “kief” which is like hashish…..couldn’t help but laugh….Beas smoking some Mar-”kief”…..Bourdain was in 7th heaven & I was jealous.

  • 11 bill.thomas // May 20, 2013 at 12:34 am

    Regime? How can you call it a regime when Blanks was still in the midst of being toilet-trained???

    And when will he take it like a MAN, forgo the salary checks, and just take state unemployment like he should???

    Blanks is not a man, he’s a weasel !!!!

  • 12 bill.thomas // May 20, 2013 at 12:37 am

    Azbball always holds out on us. The dude is slippery. Still trying to find out where to deliver the Smith Corona with working Caps to him.

    He’s a born scribe !!!!!!

  • 13 bill.thomas // May 20, 2013 at 12:41 am

    @hawki: There is Kwat, or Qat, that is from Ethiopia and is a poor man’s coke. Not sure if its the same stuff you’re talking about.

    Anyway, your federal government is always working on your behalf !! As was Jimmy Carter !!!!!!

  • 14 bill.thomas // May 20, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Kief’s employment contract should forbid him from visiting Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.

  • 15 bill.thomas // May 20, 2013 at 12:54 am

    If we get Schroeder and Charles, I’m going to open a brasserie right next to the arena–or even within it !!!!

  • 16 bill.thomas // May 20, 2013 at 12:55 am

    @Hawki, your federal government loves you, and always will. Don’t you ever forget it !!

  • 17 hawki // May 20, 2013 at 1:15 am

    @ bill

    funny stuff…..yeah, the feds love me alright…which I guess is why they’ve been lying to me since the day I was born more than 58 yrs ago.
    They’re trying to protect me from the “evils” of the world.

  • 18 bill.thomas // May 20, 2013 at 1:35 am

    @Hawki: I think Janet Napolitano is your guardian angel !!!!

  • 19 hawki // May 20, 2013 at 1:51 am

    @ bill

    I hired Nappy when I found out it cost $100 to put make-up on Jan Brewer’s mug every morning.
    Nappy is happy sleeping in a pup tent out on the back porch.

    ok…my last political comment of the night….don’t wanna piss off the natives anymore than already have.

  • 20 bill.thomas // May 20, 2013 at 3:45 am

    Janet Napolitano will just take care of all of us. Just drink the Kool-Aide !!!!!

  • 21 Len // May 20, 2013 at 7:49 am

    After watching Beasley play here for 2 years here in Minnesota I am quite convinced the he has AD/HD…….

  • 22 Len // May 20, 2013 at 7:49 am

    After watching Beasley play here for 2 years here in Minnesota I am quite convinced the he has AD/HD…….

  • 23 Azbballfan // May 20, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Yeah i heard somewhere as well that he was learning disabled but i dont know how credible that is

    We used to have Steven Hunter play for us at center and i think Orlando told us he might be learning disabled, but i dont know what came of that

    I can understand those things having something to do with his on court production but he also needed to stay out of trouble this year and it looks like he didnt reallly do that

    I wonder if Atlanta would give up their two 1st rounders, number 17 and 18 for Gortat and the 30th pick?

    if we end up with extra picks in this draft i would love to see us get Jamaal Franklin, Rudy Gobert, Jeff Withey or just take the best player availible, we need help at nearly every position

  • 24 giantslor // Jun 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    He needs tough love. Send him to play in Europe until he can get his head on straight.

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