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.

Phoenix Suns 92, Detroit Pistons 89 PHOENIX — Fresh off a disappointing season-opening loss to Golden State, the Phoenix Suns will host the Detroit Pistons tonight in an important game because...

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I would guess the majority of you have had the misfortune of choking one of these down. Before I looked up these abominations to Halloween candy I didn't realize they were called peanut butter kisses. After all, the manufacturer is so ashamed of their creation that they wouldn't even put their name on the wrapper. These things are supposed to taste like peanut butter?! Peanut butter should file a lawsuit for character defamation. And where does the kiss come into play? The kiss of death? Kissing your appetite goodbye? How about telling the person giving these to trick-or-treaters to kiss your @ss?

The Suns were that person last night. They were just about to grab the chocolate variety bag full of funsize Reese's, M&M's and Kit Kat's, but at the last second, by virtue of some nefarious mental paroxysm, they decided to go with the @$ck#ng peanut butter kisses instead.

Filling an arena on Halloween is a tough task. I'm sure that's why the crowd was reported at 2,800 below capacity. Then again, everybody in the lower bowl may have decided to wear the same invisible man costume... The goblins and ghouls that were in attendance watched a pretty damn ugly tumultuous game with a 25 point swing from when the Warriors led 46-29 in the second quarter to where the Suns went up 74-66 in the fourth. It looked like the wheels were coming off for Golden St., but it turned out to be just a sugar rush for the Suns, who faded down the stretch in an opening night loss.

New team. New players. Still, some of the similarities were downright spooky.

1. A lineup of Telfair, Brown, Beasley, Morris and O'Neal opened up the second quarter and the Warriors went on a 13-2 run. The lead ballooned to 17, at 46-29, before the Suns starters returned and cut lead to six at halftime. Similarities - bench getting murdered, losing the second quarter (-2).

2. The Suns took a 74-66 lead with 8:41 to play. Over the next 5:03 they surrendered a 15-4 run that saw the Warriors reclaim the lead 81-78. Similarities - bench sucking out loud, Gentry waiting too long to return the starters.

3. Luis Scola scored with 1:43 left to give the Suns an 84-83 lead. The Suns failed to execute the remainder of the game including the closing moments that were comically embarrassing for both teams, mirroring much from a game that was sloppy and disjointed. Similarities - poor execution down the stretch, no go-to scorer.

4. Shannon Brown still looks like Shannon Brown. The mad chucker was on display again last night, taking bad shots when the Suns couldn't afford it. In another disturbing trend, it appears that Michael Beasley may be a slightly more talented version of Shannon Brown. This may not change much, either, since Gentry is publicly saying those are good shots for Beasley that he usually makes when he should be privately waterboarding him after the game. Similarities - Brown is Brown, Beasley is also Brown.

5. Golden St. had 17 offensive rebounds, including seven in the final quarter. Three of those offensive rebounds resulted in seven points during the Warriors' 15-4 run that cost Phoenix the game. If the Suns don't give up those rebounds they probably win. Similarities - losing on the glass (-5), getting owned on the offensive boards (-6)

6. The Suns scored 85 points. 85. I guess "pushing the pace" doesn't explicitly correspond to scoring, but I was hoping that a triple digit point average was at least implied in the rhetoric. The fans that forewent trick-or-treating to attend the game didn't even get free tacos. The Suns failed to reach the 90 point mark 12 times last season (almost one in five games) so hopefully last night wasn't a precursor of a repeat performance. Similarities - struggling to score, struggling to run (11 fast break points)

7. Please feel free to add your own.

Friday night the Suns will attempt to exorcise these ghosts. One game does not a pattern make, even when it resembles a previous pattern. I'm looking forward to a more consistent effort and even more positives against the Pistons. Because just like those noxious candies straight from hell, the first game left me with a bad taste in my mouth.


After the Suns home loss on Halloween night, Goran Dragic talked about the need to make open shots. There's no denying that. Guys that are open, like Jared Dudley at the top of the arc without a defender in the same zip code, need to make those shots -- and on many nights they will.

But that doesn't change one basic fact that's kind of like the law of gravity: the closer you are to the hoop, the higher percentage of shots you will make. Sure, there will be times when that rule is broken by a hot hand, but we all know what to do when the hand goes cold.

You attack the rim.

You do that via the dribble drive. You do that with a competent post player who can back his guy down, turn, fire, and swish. Kind of like that ONE time at the 1:43 mark when Scola abused David Lee (a horrible defensive player).

What I saw during that stretch was Shannon Brown taking too many contested outside shots (he went 1-4 in the quarter).

I also remember Dragic and Gortat trying to run middle pick and roll but with Scola out behind the three-point line angle right where Frye normally chills. When the defense collapsed, they kicked to the open Scola who doesn't shoot threes like Frye. Miss.

Another time running the pick and roll they kicked to Tucker on the left wing who missed a wide open long jump shot (he's not a jump shooter either).

So, basically, the Suns tried to run their old pick and roll plays that were so effective in 2010 when Frye, Dudley and J-Rich were lights out floor spacers but with with guys who are not lights out floor spacers. Shockingly, that didn't work.

The only thing that did work was P.J. Tucker who scored 10 of the Suns 18 total points and was 5-7 in the 4th. He was also the guy who finished almost every play the Suns did manage to score in the paint during the quarter. He moved without the ball and received passes from Dragic and Dudley and had an offensive rebound put back.

The numbers below (via NBA.com) support what we saw during the game. Too many outside shots. Look:



It's one game. Not the end of the world. They'll improve. Yadda yadda yadda.

[Note by Seth Pollack, 11/01/12 2:13 PM EDT ]

Let me add a few things here...because I've clearly not said enough on this subject yet.

There's no problem with taking outside shots. Defenses are going to pack the paint and make you beat them from "over the top". You have to take those shots when they are open to loosen things up. Sometimes they just aren't going to fall.

A perfect example was the wide open three Jared got late in the game. It was a great play. Goran got deep into the paint. The defense collapsed. Goran made a fantastic pass from the baseline to the top of the arc. Jared is a great shooter. He missed. Whatever. Shit happens.

The problem I saw was the decision making with the second unit (in particular our old buddy Mr. Brown) and the play calling that ignored the post too many times in favor of the pick and roll.

Pick and roll is nice, but if we've learned one thing over the years watching the Suns run it ALL THE TIME, is that you need shooters to space the floor unless the defense is totally asleep. The Warriors rotated well. The Suns didn't have the gunners to make them pay. So why run the play? Why ignore Scola who's got a mismatch against Lee in the post? Hell, why not even give Jermaine O'Neal a shot at going against the much smaller Carl Landry in the post?


First, let's look to our friend Kris Habbas at SB Nation Arizona:

Prior to the 87-85 loss the Phoenix Suns suffered on Wednesday in their season opener to the Golden State Warriors, head coach Alvin Gentry talked about how his rotation is not going to be set in stone. "I think you've got to do it on a per game basis," he said. "Closing out will be a game-by-game basis. I think the guys that are going good and and played well and feeling good about it, then those are the guys that are going to close out games."

That is what happened on Wednesday night. Reserve forward P.J. Tucker came in off the bench and sparked the team with his defensive play in the first half and scored some big buckets in the second half, and ended up closing out the game in place of the talented Michael Beasley, whom the team is counting on to become their go-to player.

Now, let's check out the Suns beat reporter from the Arizona Republic and azcentral.com: Paul Coro

Twice, Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat lost offensive rebounds by battling each other for them down the stretch. Twice, the Suns hesitated when they needed a tying 3-pointer and let Golden State foul in the final seconds. And given a gift by Stephen Curry's two free-throw misses, Goran Dragic raced upcourt and passed to Sebastian Telfair rather than taking a shot to win in time.

"We're trying to change the personality what our teams have been in the past and be able to win a game where you can grind it out," Gentry said.

Our sister blog, Golden State of Mind, had this to say about their team's opening night win:

Well, that was an interesting game, to top an interesting day. The good news is we leave Phoenix with a win. The really good news is that Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut were able to play significant minutes on Opening Night. The bad news is that Stephen Curry and David Lee sucked on ice, in terms of shooting tonight.

cbssports.com had a recap that included a quote from Mark Jackson

"If you would have told me coming in that David Lee and Steph Curry would go 4 for 30, I'd say we'd be in trouble," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said.

And a few more...

Old problems lead to loss for new-look Suns
For those wondering if the Phoenix Suns' offseason was more of a neat trick than a retreat, Wednesday's season-opening date with Golden State Warriors was scary at times, but not totally creepy.

Golden State Warriors 87, Phoenix Suns 85 -- New era, same result
First and foremost, the Suns failed to make a field goal after Luis Scola banked in a nine-footer with 1:43 remaining to put Phoenix on top by one.

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