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Michael Beasley may be heading to the bench in Phoenix

Dec 7, 2012, 8:21 PM EDT

beasley_8503_1 Getty Images

The Suns are currently riding a five-game losing steak, after coming close but ultimately falling short in a 97-94 loss to the Mavericks on Thursday. And fair or not, the blame for a lot of the team’s struggles, especially offensively, is being placed squarely on the shoulders of Michael Beasley.

Beasley was benched for the fourth quarter of Thursday’s contest, after scoring just nine points on 3-of-12 shooting in 21 minutes of action. It isn’t the first time Beasley hasn’t played when the game matters most, and those fourth quarter benchings have been occurring more frequently, with the man the Suns planned to feature in their offense this season simply not getting the job done on anywhere close to a consistent basis.

Phoenix already abandoned its starting lineup once this young season, trading out two players who on paper were deserving for two who actually would produce. Jared Dudley was replaced by Shannon brown, and Luis Scola was replaced by Markieff Morris. Now, it might be Beasley’s turn to head to the bench until he can figure things out.

From Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic:

Forward Michael Beasley was the epitome of the team’s struggles. He shot 3-for-12 and during one stretch missed seven straight shots. Afterward, Gentry said it’s “more than likely” time to move Beasley out of the starting rotation and the switch “could possibly” be as soon as Saturday’s tilt in Los Angeles against the Clippers.

“I don’t know what it is,” Beasley said. “I come in every game optimistic about my play and my shots. It’s just not good right now, and it’s not what anybody’s doing. It’s all me. I’m getting extra shots. I’m getting extra shots on top of extra shots. I’ve just got to be patient. Let the game come to me. Just sort of ride it out.”

The Suns troubles aren’t anywhere close to all Beasley’s fault. Goran Dragic has been up and down running the point, and while the team has tried to feature Beasley and give him the green light as much as possible, a lot of his shot attempts aren’t coming in rhythm, or after he’s been set up cleanly for an open look.

Beasley may find consistency with the second unit; his minutes aren’t likely to drop, and Gentry has always maintained that he’ll go with whoever is getting it done on a given night when crunch time rolls around.

  1. midwaymonster161 - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    Absolutely ridiculous Gentry. You have idea what you at doing. For instance, why would you bench Scola when this guy is Mr. Consistency when he starts? Look at his Houston numbers Gentry. And if I’m not wrong hen he started to screw around with the starting lineup Gortat’s awesome numbers from the first few games took a nose dive.

    • scooper15928 - Dec 8, 2012 at 10:28 AM

      Wrong, Gortat’s numbers didn’t take a dive. His block numbers did, but he’s never been an elite shot blocker anyway and his crazy block stats at the start of the season were a coincidence. Maybe Scola does deserve to start, but the entire reason Gentry inserted Morris into the starting lineup anyway was to appease to Gortat. Gortat bitched to a polish publication in an interview about Scola stealing his touches, so what was Gentry supposed to do? Morris is playing fine anyway, I wouldn’t worry about it.

  2. kappy32 - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    I have no idea what happened to this guy. He singlehandedly carrier his Kansas State team his one year in college & looked like a superstar. Maybe he is the basketball version of Ron Dayne. Like Dayne, Beasley was able to overpower his college opponents with his brute strength, but once he got to the pros he saw that professional players are a hell of a lot stronger than are college players. It’s really the only thing I can thinknof as to why he never lived up to the billing.

    • hodaghunter - Dec 7, 2012 at 11:23 PM

      Apples to Oranges… The truth of Ron Dayne is he was the beneficiary of one of the greatest offensive lines in college football at the time.

    • eventhorizon04 - Dec 8, 2012 at 2:32 AM

      Difficulty adjusting to better competition explains rookie-year struggles for some guys who were dominant in college – it happens.

      However, continued difficulty even after becoming a veteran is a sign of poor work ethic and/or lack of talent.

    • lionsplayoffs - Dec 9, 2012 at 1:38 AM

      Agreed Kappy. This guy looked as “can’t miss” as anyone in a long time. He was even a stellar rebounder in college. He just doesn’t have it upstairs. He’s trying, but he’s not getting there.

  3. glink123 - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    the dude smokes more weed than anyone in the league. that’s why.

  4. jebdamone - Dec 8, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    the best synopsis of michael beasley’s problem i have ever heard came from someone on KFAN a year ago. they said they arrived at a twolves game early to watch the shoot around. while all the other players were doing drills and shooting around beasley was standing in a far corner behind the basket seeing how far he could launch the ball over the backboard and still make a shot occasionally. then he went to center court and just chucked up half courters for the rest of shoot around. this is his approach to the game and why he has never dominated the way he did as Kansas State.

    • gpack17 - Dec 8, 2012 at 1:04 PM

      A friend of mine with season tickets related a story from a practice she attended lat year. The team was dispersed around the three point arc conducting a passing drill. After about a minute of this, Beasley launches a shot. Coach says “Michael, this is a passing drill.” Beasley responds “I passed it to the hoop!”

  5. someidiotfromouthereintheprojects - Dec 8, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    i don’t follow the suns, but i’ve always kind of liked the guy. sure, he’s a bit of a knucklehead, but he’s still a baller. he’s a high volume shooter and often a high volume scorer. i don’t understand why benching him would help his team unless he were on a loaded team like the heat or spurs. i guess a lot of teams and coaches view him differently than i do, otherwise he wouldn’t wear out his welcome so often.

  6. kavika6 - Dec 9, 2012 at 3:44 AM

    My daughter said that if not for the stubble on his chin she would wonder if the guy in the picture was a man or a woman.

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