Mar. 12, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley (8) against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. The Timberwolves defeated the Suns 127-124. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE.
The past is the past, but Michael Beasley is not running from it. He is also looking forward to the future and finally reaching his full potential in the NBA.
At 12:01 a.m. to start free-agency this summer the Suns were not at the door of Eric Gordon, Steve Nash, Grant Hill, or O.J. Mayo. They were in Los Angeles meeting with the free agent forward Michael Beasley, securing their top free-agent target.
Lon Babby, Lance Blanks, and Alvin Gentry were all en route to visit, court, and bring Beasley on board to the organization.
The continued theme of "new beginnings" couldn't be more relevant than with the Suns signing of Beasley. In four years in the NBA Beasley has underachieved to an extent on two teams that didn't necessarily have the right fit for him. This offseason he has been able to remain low-profile by, as he put it, "honestly just staying in the house."
Easily the most impressive aspect of this bringing in Beasley is the open willingness to speak to his past.
He is not running away from it. Instead he is very open to answer questions about his past transgressions that put his name in the headlines for the wrong reasons. Sure he has made his share of bad decisions, but when put on the spot about it he is more open therefore more mature than most athletes his age. Most athletes or people in general for that matter would rather focus on the future and drop cliché after cliché in front of the media. Not Beasley.
Remember Beasley is a former No. 1 recruit in the nation coming out of high school and the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. He is a legitimate talent.
The issue with his former teams was his immaturity, which he has acknowledged and worked on as a 24 year old young man. Then there was the fit on those Heat and Timberwolves teams. As a ball-dominant combo forward he did not mix well with Dwyane Wade or the Ricky Rubio/Kevin Love duo. They tried to play him off the ball as a shooter instead of taking advantage of the skills that made him the player he was years ago.
"The-run-and gun style of offense," is what drew Beasley to the Suns. "It is something that me, not just myself, but a lot of NBA players dream of playing in an offense like that."
That run-and-gun style as Beasley put it is a staple in Suns basketball since Steve Nash and Mike D'Antoni installed it years ago. It is an offense that will require Beasley to condition and prepare for at a level he has never had to before. This offseason he has added a few new wrinkles to his workout to get himself in better shape.
"I do a lot," said Beasley about his offseason workout regimen. "I wake up at 6 a.m. I am on the track (outside) for about an hour, right after that I do Shotokan, which is a form or martial arts, right after that I do yoga, don't laugh at me, but I do a little bit of ballet instructions, and after that I hit the court."
Yeah, the entire room laughed at that one Mike.
Playing style aside what was more importantly -- to Beasley -- was that he was the guy the Suns wanted and was at the top of their free agency list.
"Phoenix was the first and only team I met with," explained Beasley about his free-agency experience. "What really drew me was that I was number one on the list. As soon as 12 o'clock hit I got a text message saying they (Babby, Blanks, and Gentry) would be there the next day. That made me feel really good as a person."
Fitting Beasley onto this roster full of versatile and talented players will be an interesting fit, but the coaching staff already has plans for their new offensive weapon.
"I like his versatility from the standpoint that you can play him as a small forward or a three man and have an advantage as far as post ups. Then you can play him as a four man and have an advantage as far as going around guys on the floor. One of the things that we have talked about as a coaching staff is that we will have Michael handle the ball some on screen and roll situations where he is making the play."
Personality wise Beasley will fit right in with the cast of characters keeping this a loose locker room. He is not expecting to come in and be "the leader," but he is willing to put in the work to gain the respect of his teammates to eventually have them follow his example.
The Suns leave this offseason with a new era ushered in by the return of a familiar face, the entrance of the No. 13 overall pick in 2012, but just as important the acquisition of the former No. 2 overall pick in 2008. Just four years in Beasley is entering his prime, not past it giving the Suns a potential bargain star.