Beasley the latest problem for Suns
by By Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
As if life without Steve Nash wasn’t tough enough to manage for the struggling Phoenix Suns (7-15), there’s this: their marquee offseason addition isn’t panning out like they’d hoped.
Small forward Michael Beasley, who signed a three-year, $18 million deal in the summer and was supposed to be the closest thing the Suns had to a star, is hurting them more than he’s helping them these days. His situation was spotlighted today by Sports on Earth’s Shaun Powell, who shed light on Beasley’s situation in a tweet today.
The nature of Beasley’s role is at the root of the problem. Despite the fact that he was added to take a leading-scorer role, there is a sentiment from some on the team that the Suns are more effective when his role is limited. Apparently coach Alvin Gentry is among those who have that opinion, as he played Beasley just 15 minutes in Sunday’s loss to Orlando that was the Suns’ eighth straight defeat.
The truly problematic part, according to a person close to the situation who spoke with USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, is that Beasley is hardly hiding his frustrations with the fact that his role isn’t what he thought it would be. Beasley, who has shared his frustrations publicly recently as well, could find himself changing teams for the third time in five seasons if the situation doesn’t improve leading up to the Feb. 21 trade deadline.
The numbers indicate that he’s hurting more than helping. For the season, there is – according to stats provided by the NBA – a 20.8-point swing toward the negative on average when Beasley isn’t on the floor compared to when he is (a negative-14.4 plus-minus rating with him on the floor and a plus-6.4 rating with him off it). He’s clearly not helping them on the defensive end, either, as the team’s defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) is 96.2 when he’s on the bench and 114.9 when he’s on the court.
Making matters worse, the numbers say that the Suns … [For more on Michael Beasley the latest problem for Phoenix Suns, click here.]