When the Suns made Michael Beasley their free-agency priority in July, he became the team's X-factor.
When the Suns reached the season's quarter pole this week, Beasley was close to becoming the team's ex-starter.
Some math problems just don't have a solution no matter how long you stare. Beasley's results for the first 20 games did not add up to projections of a new go-to player. The team's most prolific shooter has the worst shooting percentage in the rotation and has to be left off the floor in crunch situations because he can't be trusted defensively.
More than falling shy of being a scoring star, Beasley is not even playing like he had in his first four seasons. A career 45.5 percent shooter, he is at 37.4 this season.
This is not his second chance. Minnesota was that, and he was benched in the second season.
Like Miami and Minnesota, the Suns had optimistic projections for the No. 2 choice in the 2008 draft. But nobody geared teams around Hasheem Thabeet, Marvin Williams, Darko Milicic, Jay Williams or Stromile Swift, other No. 2 draft picks of this millennium.
The patience for Beasley has been as extraordinary as the attention he gets from the basketball staff, with General Manager Lance Blanks taking on a mentoring role. But when coach Alvin Gentry said Thursday that the staff needs to look at other options, it was clear that the next move would involve Beasley — who at that moment was having a heart-to-heart chat from President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby.
The Suns already gave the lineup a makeover without touching Beasley. Gentry continued to design plays at the start of both halves each game to get Beasley going. From the top of the organization to the locker room, many wonder why Beasley continues to start what he can't finish, while P.J. Tucker has been fantastic defensively.
Beasley has the league's worst plus-minus ratio (point difference when players are in and out of a game). After Thursday's game, he is at minus-141 points.
Phoenix Suns' Michael Beasley 'frustrated' with start to season
Arizona Republic | Dec 7