Michael Beasley Focused, Training Hard And Ready to Realize His Potential

Mar. 12, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley (8) against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. The Timberwolves defeated the Suns 127-124. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE.

Michael Beasley signed his 3-year, $18-million deal today to play for the Phoenix Suns and he promises that the Suns made the right choice to take a chance on him. Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby has said many times in the past year that they have to "get it right" this offseason, and they feel strongly that Michael Beasley is a step in that direction.

Beasley was the top priority for the Phoenix Suns this offseason. They texted him on Saturday night at 12:01am, July 1, and then flew the next morning to see him in Los Angeles as their first free agent visit.

This for guy who had worked his way off two prior NBA teams in four years after being drafted #2 overall in 2008.

This from a team who later made a $58 million offer to Eric Gordon and $30 million to Goran Dragic. But Beasley was first on their list, to snatch him up before another team got wind of Beasley's newfound realization of his own potential. Beasley credits work with former NBA player Norm Nixon for his progress.

He recognizes his past and wants to move forward while not shying away from it.

''I'd like to thank the organization for believing in me,'' he said, ''giving me another chance, a better opportunity to grow as a person and a player. Like Lance said, I kind of want to take my past head-on. What happened, it happened. It happened in a growing process. I'm still a young man. I'm still learning today. The mistakes I made in the past are hopefully behind me. Hopefully, the Suns organization can be patient with my growing process. I'm just excited to get a start, excited to play basketball.

''The run-and-gun style of offense is something that not just myself but a lot of NBA players dream of playing in,'' he said. ''But what really drew me was that I was No. 1 on their list. That really made me feel good as a person. Phoenix is the first and only team I met with this summer. Once the meeting was over, once the day was over, I felt good about coming to Phoenix and I didn't have to meet with any other teams. I really feel like they are sincere in everything they say. ... It makes me feel good that someone actually believes in me and someone is willing to give me a chance.''

With regard to those past problems, Beasley had this little quip to say:

''I realize 10 minutes of feeling good is not really worth putting my life and my career and my legacy in jeopardy,'' he said. ''So I'm confident to say that that part of my career, that part of my life, is over and won't be coming back.''

Hit the jump for more on Beasley... (Edit - press conference video included)

Suns' press release with all the pertinent facts.

The Phoenix Suns today signed unrestricted free agent and former No. 2 overall draft pick Michael Beasley to a multi-year contract, the club has announced.

Beasley, a versatile 6-10, 230-pound forward, is a four-year NBA veteran who was originally selected with the second overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat. A 23-year-old former NBA First Team All-Rookie choice, Beasley owns career averages of 15.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in 27.9 minutes in 279 career games (177 starts) with the Heat (2008-10) and Minnesota Timberwolves (2010-12). Beasley joins the Suns after two seasons in Minneapolis, where in 2010-11 he averaged a career-high 19.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists.

A threat to score from anywhere on the floor, Beasley is a career 45.5 percent shooter, who also has shot 35.5 percent from three-point range. In fact, he has set career highs in each of the last two seasons in three-point percentage, and has shot a combined 98-of-265 (.370) from beyond the arc since 2010. His career year in 2010-11 saw him make a career-best 60 three-pointers while still staying aggressive enough to earn a career-best 291 trips to the free-throw line.

The native of Seat Pleasant, Md., is a dynamic scorer who owns 10 career 30-point games, nine of which have come in the last two seasons, more than any player on the current Suns roster. That includes a career-high 42-point performance against Sacramento on Nov. 10, 2010. Beasley joins the Suns with career averages of 17.4 points and 6.1 rebounds against the Pacific Division, both his best numbers against any NBA division. Not afraid to take the big shot, Beasley hit the game-winner on Dec. 26, 2010 at Cleveland (:05.9 seconds remaining) and also on Nov. 17, 2010 against the LA Clippers (:02.3).

An immediate impact player in the NBA, Beasley teamed with Dwyane Wade to lead the Heat to postseason appearances in each of his first two NBA seasons. He owns career playoff averages of 11.4 points and 6.7 rebounds in 12 games (five starts).

An early entry draft candidate in 2008, Beasley played one decorated collegiate season at Kansas State during which he averaged 26.2 points, third-most in the nation, and an NCAA-best 12.4 rebounds while setting single-season school records in points (866), scoring average and rebounds (408), among others. He was a unanimous Associated Press First Team All-American, Sporting News National Freshman of the Year, and Big 12 Player of the Year, and led the Wildcats to their first NCAA Tournament win since 1988.

Beasley has all the talent he needs to excel in the NBA. Now he just needs to dedicate himself to the craft of basketball. Let's hope he has really turned that corner.

"From practices to games, from the 1st minute to the last, I'm gonna work hard. I'm gonna do what I have to do to win."


Video courtesy of Valleyofthesuns.com.

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