Michael Beasley's reputation when he signed with Phoenix was that of a black hole, a gunner who didn't move the ball and forced too many shots. Through two preseason games, we have yet to see that version of Beasley. In fact, if you ask Suns head coach Alvin Gentry, Beasley isn't taking enough shots.
"Every day gets easier," Beasley said to the Arizona Republic's Paul Coro. "They’re telling me to shoot, shoot, shoot. I pass up far more shots than I should. Coach (Alvin Gentry) really encourages me to shoot. Everybody does, even the team. The more I get comfortable, the more old habits will leave."
A newcomer getting yelled at for not shooting enough has become an annual tradition for the Suns under Gentry. However, who would have thought Beasley would be the one to need it?
"This is the first time I’ve really been encouraged to shoot even more than I already do, and we all know that I shoot a lot," Beasley said. "My last two teams, I’ve been asked to try to be a passer/playmaker."
Per 36 minutes, Beasley has taken just under 14 shots per game in his first two games as a Sun. That is down from his career average of 17.3 per 36. His assists, on the other hand, are up to 5.7 per 36 from his career average of 1.8.
Bright Siders have been surprised by Beasley's playmaking ability and willingness to pass the ball, but Gentry said he's doing it too much.
"He plays so unselfishly, almost to a fault sometimes where he can hurt the team by not taking that shot that’s available to him," Gentry said. "We try to tell him that it’s not a selfish play to take that shot. Not taking that shot hurts us more than a bad shot."
Gentry would like to see Beasley take more three-pointers in particular, and also wants to get him more shots off the dribble rather than while spotting up.
We know Gentry has no problems giving the green light to players he feel can score the ball. I just hope Beasley takes it the right way, and Gentry puts him in position to take more good shots rather than just more shots. I like the Beasley that I've seen play in Phoenix much more than the one I watched in Minnesota. Hopefully he can find the balance between continuing to play as he has and finding a way to get more looks in the flow of the offense.
Another interesting tidbit from the Coro article is that the Suns do intend to get Beasley some minutes at the power forward spot. However, with all the big men fighting to make the team, we may have to wait before seeing that.