Michael Beasley joined the Suns with a reputation for, among other things, being a dynamic scorer.
Though he averaged just 11.5 points per game on fewer than 11 shooting attempts last season, the 23-year-old put up 19.2 points per night on 17.1 attempts the previous year.
Through two preseason games with Phoenix, Beasley is averaging 12 points and 3.5 assists on 8.5 shots per game.
He’s been efficient, and Suns coach Alvin Gentry is hoping the former No. 2 overall pick can continue to grow in the Valley of the Sun.
“You know what we’ve approached him with is to have the intensity level to remain constant throughout practice,” the coach said after practice Tuesday. “We’ve also approached him with the focus level, and I think he’s done a real good job.
“I’ve been real pleased with the way he’s practiced and I think he’ll continue to get better.”
A better Beasley would be a boon for the Suns, as the 6-foot-10 forward has the potential to be one of the NBA’s better scorers. And, since the Suns are in need of a “go-to” scorer, this could be a match made in heaven.
Assuming, of course, Beasley improves.
“I think he has a moment here where he can step up and shine, but you have to do that,” Gentry said. “It’s not something that is delegated to you; I think it’s something that you have to earn.”
To his credit, Beasley, like Gentry said, has been working hard, but is also walking the fine line between aggressiveness and out of control shooting.
“It’s kind of hard for me…my last two teams they kind of wanted me to be a playmaker,” Beasley said. “You know, just pass up a shot or two just to get my teammates open.
“But here, I do that and they get mad.”
Beasley said the coaches are not necessarily telling him to shoot the ball every chance he gets, but are making sure he is taking advantage of good looks when he gets them.
“If the shot’s there, take it,” he said.