Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE
If the Suns want to keep themselves away from the bottom of the Western Conference this season, they will need young playmaker Michael Beasley to carry more than his fair share of the load.
The Suns' final preseason game against the Nuggets was far from pretty, as the team looked lackadaisical on both sides of the floor. Phoenix allowed Denver to have their way in the paint and in transition while the Suns struggled to beat a group of reserves throughout most of the night.
Still, one of the few players that shined for Phoenix was Michael Beasley. He ended the night with a double-double, recording 29 points, 10 rebounds and a blocked shot. He was efficient as well, shooting 13/21 from the field and 3/3 from beyond the arc.
When asked after the game how the Suns could continue to squeeze this type of production out of Beasley all season long, coach Alvin Gentry was very direct. "Obviously Michael (Beasley) played well offensively and (he) rebounded the ball well. That's the kind of effort we have to get from him night in and night out. He can be a playmaker also and we just got to get him to that point where we get that kind of effort consistently.
"I still think he passes on some things... We've got to get him out of that syndrome. When you're going well, you've got to play a little bit selfish, I think. And that's the way most of the great players in this league are... I told him if he's playing 30 minutes a game, he should be getting 18-20 shots," Gentry said.
Talking to Beasley after the game, it seemed as if he had listened to the press conference with Gentry. He knows he carries much of the weight of this team on his shoulders, so doing a little bit of everything is important on his behalf.
"I was just being aggressive, coach has been telling me all preseason to be aggressive and be kind of selfish in taking my shots and that's what I was doing today," Beasley said. "I was going out there with a mindset of a playmaker but I was also taking what the defense was giving me."
His teammates are glad that was the approach he decided to take, as they recognize his ability to be a prolific scorer and do a little bit of everything on the floor.
"Michael is a very talented player," Suns forward Luis Scola said. He can really play and I'm happy to play with him. He's going to be a big part of what we do. He had a very good game today... I would look at him and say, 'keep shooting, man.' He's a very talented player and I'm very happy to have him."
When asked what Beasley did so well against the Nuggets, guard Goran Dragic had a rather simple answer. "Aggressive," he said. "He was amazing on offense and when he's hot we're going to look for him every game. He did a great job, he was attacking the rim and being aggressive and we need that from him."