Instead of becoming a Kevin Durant-like figure creating mismatches across the floor and dominating opponents with his versatility, Michael Beasley is experiencing the worst season of his five-year career as a member of the Phoenix Suns and it doesn’t look like improving any time soon.
Where does Beasley rank among some of the historically bad picks at the No.2 overall selection? His current season with the Suns is pushing him closer to that Darko Milicic, Hasheem Thabeet and Danny Ferry level. Instead of experiencing a revival after departing Minnesota for Phoenix, what once looked to be a promising career has backfired badly. He’s averaging career lows across the board: 21.1 minutes per game, 39 percent field goal shooting, 3.8 rebounds per game and just 10 points outing.
Beasley is just two seasons removed from averaging a shade under 20 points per game as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves and with Phoenix, where he should have had every opportunity to reach stardom, has let him down.
The Suns have used Beasley primarily at the small forward position, where he is far less effective. Although he was often undersized as a power forward, Beasley has proven that he can be a weapon at that position using quickness and his streaky shooting ability as an advantage against bigger, slower opponents. He’s also contending with competition at the four spot against Luis Scola and Markieff Morris, with the latter surely representing a more worthwhile project for a rebuilding Suns franchise.
Beasley has yet to develop away from his tendency to settle for the outside jump shot. It’s not that Mike’s a bad shooter. He just never turned that facet of his game into an elite tool that can be relied upon not only on a nightly basis, but also in a variety of different ways and situations.
It seemed as if Beasley would receive more support from the Phoenix coaching staff after Lindsey Hunter replaced Alvin Gentry as head coach in January, but that hasn’t been the case. February actually saw Beasley average a more than 20 minutes a night for the first time since November, but he shot just 37 percent from the floor during the month and he’s now averaging slightly higher than 10 minutes per game over his last four contests.
Sadly, Michael Beasley’s career is trending downwards. He’ll never reach the level of a Kevin Durant–that’s certain now–but it’s also not too late for him to make sure he’s not the next Ricky Davis.