Breaking Down Why Phoenix Suns' Michael Beasley Is so Bad

Danny Dukker@DannyDukkerCorrespondent IIJanuary 17, 2013

PHOENIX, AZ - DECEMBER 09:  Michael Beasley #0 of the Phoenix Suns reacs during the NBA game against the Orlando Magic at US Airways Center on December 9, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Magic defeated the Suns 98-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns counted on Michael Beasley to be their number one scoring option this season, but that hasn't really worked out.

Okay, I might be putting it a little too mildly; Michael Beasley has played terribly in Phoenix. Why is that? It's one thing to just point out a player is playing poorly, but there has to be a reason, right?

I mean, we are talking about the former number two overall pick. A guy who averaged 19 points a game during the 2010-2011 season. This isn't just another rotation player given too much to handle.

Beasley came into the season with high expectations and has failed miserably. Enough talk though, let's get some numbers in here.

This season Beasley has averaged just 9.4 points a game on 38 percent shooting. Doesn't sound like a number one scoring option to me.

So, now that it's established Beasley has not been an effective scorer this season, we need to focus on why.

First, let's look outside of just Michael Beasley. How has the coaching been? So far, Beasley has played almost exclusively as a small forward in Phoenix.

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There is a strong case to be made that he makes a much better power forward than small forward. He is 6'10", so he is definitely big enough, and his quickness for his size could be a great advantage.

While that may be the case, the roster in Phoenix isn't very favorable to including another power forward. Luis Scola can't move down and neither should Markieff Morris, which leaves Beasley to play the position.

Not to mention Beasley's best year (2010-2011) was spent with him at the small forward position. With all that said, it's pretty clear that Beasley should be able to adjust, and has to.

Now we can shift our attention fully onto Beasley and analyze his play. Here is a chart of Beasley's shot selection:

One thing that really sticks out is how much Beasley likes to shoot. That is not to say Beasley is not a decent mid-range shooter, but he has been settling far too much for the jumper recently.

In fact, while his shooting percentage at the rim is a high 63 percent, it drops to just 30 percent when he steps out just a little further.

After that, it doesn't get any higher than 35 percent from the 10-15 feet area. That also happens to be his least common spot to shoot from.

It's very obvious that the big advantage Beasley has is his athletic ability. He is too big for most small forwards and too quick for most power forwards.

This should make him relatively hard to guard, but he just hasn't performed up to expectations this year. He settles far more often for the jump shot than he should, and it has shown.

Unfortunately, I don't have a stat to show effort, but that's probably a good thing. When I watch Beasley play it's very clear he is not giving his all every trip down the floor.

There are also those days when it seems like he is just on a mission and helps lead the Suns to victory. Watch this game recap and you will see Beasley all over it:

This is one of the very few performances Suns fans have really been able to cheer about this season. Beasley's lack of contribution is a big factor in them being ranked 19th in points per game.

That's right, the Phoenix Suns are now ranked in the bottom half of the league in offense. I would call it a change in philosophy if they weren't also ranked 24th in points allowed.

Oh yeah, defense. Beasley supporters probably didn't want me to get into that discussion. Michael Beasley is arguably the worst defender on the Suns roster.

I will also mention that while he spends most of his time playing small forward, when Beasley plays power forward his opponent's PER jumps from 16.7 all the way up to 26 (projection for 48 minutes).

There is no way I can accuse Beasley of being lazy on offense without mentioning the absolute hatred he appears to have for the other side of the court.

Okay, this all boils down to one major thing: effort. Michael Beasley needs to give more effort on the court, pure and simple.

Let me also make another point, I was very happy when I heard that Beasley was signed by the Suns; I thought that we finally managed to reel in a good player with loads of potential.

Like many other hopeful Suns fans, I was wrong. However, there is still plenty of time left both this season and on Beasley's contract. This may not end up being a total disaster when all is said and done.

All I know is that Beasley needs to get it together, go out there, and start playing like the second overall pick he was. I don't know if the gremlins are to blame or what, but something needs to change.

Thank you for reading and please leave your thoughts in the comments below! You can also follow me on twitter for some more sports talk.


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