Malik Beasley Focuses on Leadership in Practice, Upcoming Summer League

by Christopher Dempsey
Nuggets Insider
@chrisadempsey

The third time around, Malik Beasley said, is a turn toward leadership. Summer league this year is taking on a slightly different tack for the reserve Nuggets shooting guard, who will begin his third season with the team in the fall.

“I’ve been through this already,” Beasley said. “So, it’s a test to see if I want to go through this just to get through it, or do I want to get something out of it and be a leader?”

Beasley has chosen the leadership trail, and he started by getting vocal during Sunday afternoon’s drills. Yet there are things he wants to improve on the court.

“Just my overall game – competing, whatever my coach needs me to do,” he said. “If he wants me to be a scorer, if he wants me to be a playmaker, whatever I can do.

“I tell you what: This is light work. I’ve been putting in a lot of work, so this (practice) is like nothing right now for me. I’m in the best shape of my life. I’ve been putting in work every day in Atlanta and L.A., working hard. I only took one week off.”

Beasley’s appearances grew by 40 games from his first season (22) to his second (62). A five-game stretch in December – in the midst of the Nuggets’ second-longest road trip of the season – provided Beasley’s most dense period of playing time this season.

There were six straight games where he reached double figures in time on the court. Five of those were at least 16 minutes or more. Two were over 23 minutes, including an inspired 28-minute game at Orlando, where Beasley scored 12 points with four rebounds and three assists in a Nuggets’ victory.

Listed at 196 pounds, Beasley smiled and said through extensive work in the weight room he’s reached 2-oh-something in weight right now. He’s sporting a clearly bigger set of arms and added he’d like to be 210 pounds by the start of the season.

“Solid weight, so I can stay strong and also fast,” Beasley said.

MORRIS WORKS ON SHOOTING FORM: Guard Monte Morris has said he is ready for a big summer league, and he has prepared, in part, by making corrections to his shooting form. He said he started the journey on May 1. It comes down to Morris getting his guide hand more on the side of the basketball, out of his shooting motion.

It hasn't been easy.

“I’ve been shooting like that all my life,” Morris said. “I’ve seen it. But I was shooting the ball pretty good. I’m not a poor shooter, so it was like changing how you walk all over again. Having like two months to do it, it took a lot of reps and I was mad at them, yelling at them at times like, ‘Look, I don’t think I’m going to be able to do this.’ They were like, ‘Trust the process, Monte, and you’ll be thankful for it.’ So, I definitely did and I appreciate it.”

How were the first few days?

“At first everything was short, really short,” Morris said. “It was like, man, come July, by summer league, it will be second nature for you. And now, it’s definitely second nature for me. …. It’s definitely comfortable now, I’m more confident in letting the ball go wherever I’m at on the court, and having confidence that it will go in for me.”

Christopher Dempsey: christopher.dempsey@altitude.tv @chrisadempsey on Twitter

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