Michael Beasley is a talented basketball player. He can get his shot off in a lot of different ways and he has a healthy knack for finding the bottom of the net. Over his five-year career, however, he only gets to the line for an average of 3.1 free throw attempts per game.
Carmelo Anthony, a guy Beasley should be compared to in both body type and raw scoring ability, has averaged 7.8 free throw attempts per game in his career. Melo gets treated (and paid) like a superstar despite a well-deserved reputation for being a disinterested defender because he puts so much pressure on the other team on offense.
That seems to the mold Alvin Gentry and the Suns are seeking for the hybrid forward.
According to Paul Coro in the Arizona Republic, the coaching staff held a film session with Beasley to demonstrate how Anthony gets to the line. Michael explained his lesson:
Expectations are high for Phoenix Suns’ Michael Beasley
"That’s what I think about when I drive now," Beasley said. "Melo is quick but Melo doesn’t always beat his guy on the first step. He’ll drive and then he’ll hit you with the shoulder. You’ve got to foul him or it’s going to be a wide-open layup."
Beasley's set a goal for himself of 7 to 8 free throws per game which certainly would be a great help to his team which needs a great deal of help in finding easy points.
Michael reportedly accepted his benching in the opener against the Warriors in favor of the more active and defensively intense P.J. Tucker.
"I just have to be aggressive at both ends of the floor," Beasley said. "I feel I have the talent level and stamina and also the mental stability to play 30-plus minutes a game. You've just got to stay aggressive. You can't really flow in and out of games."
As Alvin Gentry told the media, that's what he's looking for from the newly signed free agent.
"He's got to be on the floor for us and he's got to be a star player for us," Gentry said of Beasley while also citing the phrase, "To whom much is given, much is expected" in regard to entrusting Beasley. "The expectations that we have for him are big."
So to recap: Better effort defensively. consistent focus, more aggressive driving to the rim and getting to the line. In other words, the book on Beasley from his five years in the NBA played out exactly to the letter in his first game with the Suns.
As long as everyone is saying the right things, we have no choice but to be patient. We'll know if Gentry's given up on him (like Rick Adelman eventually did in Minnesota) and we're a long ways from that point.
As they say in the Army, to make a man you have to first break him down so you can building him back the way you want. I assume we're early in that process for Drill Sergeant / Father Gentry.