The Phoenix Suns expected big things from Michael Beasley when they signed him this offseason. Instead, the small forward has been shaky in his first four games with his new team.
Before Beasley's 21-point performance yesterday against the Bobcats, he had only scored above eight points twice.
His season averages of 14.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.4 BPG and .50 SPG are solid, but his scoring average will not get it done for a player expected to be a top scoring option.
The main deterrents in Beasley's game right now are his inability to get to the free-throw line and inconsistency in his jumper.
Beasley is averaging three FTA with the Phoenix Suns, which is low for someone of his talent. One reason for this is Beasley's tendency to shy away from contact.
Far too often Beasley has a chance to drive in and create contact, but chooses instead to pull up or fade away.
His best season as a pro was the only season in which he averaged more than three FTA per game and that's no coincidence.
The only way for him to truly fix this issue is to aggressively attack the rim with the mindset of getting to the foul line.
Getting to the line is not Beasley's only issue, as his jump shot has been incredibly sporadic.
His jumper seems to not have enough arc, and when he makes a shot, it just doesn't look right.
This shot chart, courtesy of vorped.com, shows how effective Beasley was during his best NBA season in 2010-11. As you can see, his field-goal percentages were all above 35 percent except for in the left corner and right three-point line.
The arc on his shot significantly reduced over the next two years and his shooting stats suffered. As a result, Beasley experienced his worst NBA season and saw both his field-goal and free- throw percentages drop to career lows.
Fixing this issue is much easier than his tendency to not get to the foul line, as Beasley can practice his shot anytime he wants.
Beasley has the potential to be Phoenix's leading scorer and should be once these simple issues are addressed.
Luckily for the Suns, Beasley had his best game of the season Wednesday against the Charlotte Bobcats.
The keys to his unbelievable performance were his eight free-throw attempts and better looking jumper (which you can see at the :40 mark of this clip).
Suns fans everywhere should be excited to see 21 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, three blocks, one steal and eight free-throw attempts from Beasley.
Hopefully he can continue to get to the free-throw line and score like he did yesterday.