Suns Land Top Priority, Sign Beasley

By Stefan Swiat,
Posted: July 20, 2012

In 2007, Michael Beasley was the MVP of the McDonald’s All-American game, joining a list of former winners that included Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James and Dwight Howard.

In 2008, he was named First Team All-American and was chosen as the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft. By 2010-11, Beasley was averaging 19.2 points a game in Minnesota.

Despite those accolades and experiences, the 6-10 forward’s free agent status flew under the radar, garnering very little attention nationally this offseason. Everywhere, except within the Suns’ front office, which contacted him the second free agency began.

“Michael was the very first person that we visited at the earliest possible moment,” Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said. “He was a high priority for us and we are thrilled and delighted that he’s going to be a part of our new beginning in Phoenix as we move forward.”

A four-year NBA veteran at 23 years old, Beasley was a former NBA First Team All-Rookie performer in Miami. He owns career averages of 15.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in 28 minutes a night for the Heat and Timberwolves.

“What really drew me in was the fact - like Lon said - I was No. 1 on the list,” Beasley said. “As soon as 12 o’clock hit I got the text message that said there would be a meeting the next day. That really made me feel good as a person.”

In fact, Phoenix was the first and only team he met with this summer before signing. Since reaching that agreement, Beasley said that he’s been abiding by a strict daily workout regimen.

The former Kansas St. star begins his morning on the track before practicing some yoga, Shotokan karate, ballet and jiu jitsu. After his alternative methods of training are concluded, the Suns' latest addition hits the court to work on his game.

The Suns hope that all of his hard work manifests itself into making Beasley the much-needed go-to guy they need down the stretch of games and at the end of the shot clock.

“Not so much a go-to scorer – I think he can do that – but a go-to facilitator,” Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said of what Beasley can be. “You can give him the ball and he either makes the shot or he makes the play that gets someone the shot. We need that person.”

A Maryland native, Beasley can score in a variety of ways because of his size advantage over small forwards in the post and his edge in quickness over typical power forwards on the perimeter.

“It’s very seldom that you are able to acquire someone with the talent level of Michael,” Gentry said.

Now the Suns are hoping that his talent finally comes together. As a college player, he was once third in the nation in scoring and first in rebounding. Now he will have the opportunity to resume a similar starring role in the NBA.

And that’s exactly what has the Suns’ front office so excited.

“We need talented players as we move into the new era for the organization,” Suns GM Lance Blanks said. “When you take in sitting around him and spending time with him, this is someone who wants to be really good. So it made a lot of sense for us to be aggressive about bringing him in.”

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