Phoenix Suns Free Agency Review - Last Summer

Jared Wickerham

We're in the new year, closing in on the midpoint of the season, and it's a good time to evaluate the Suns' summer free agent signings. Which free agents are earning their money, which contracts are already dead weight (you already know the answer)?

Michael Beasley: F

Beasley was the first guy the Suns met with and signed this past summer. He was given a 3-year, $18 million deal to be the Suns new starter at small forward, replacing the departed veteran Grant Hill.

Now, 37 games into his Suns career, the Beasley experiment has been a total and abject failure. He's averaging 9.6 points on 10.1 field goal attempts. He's accomplished such a feat (more shots than points) by shooting 37.2 percent from the field. He's putting up career lows in almost every single category.

Beasley is playing the worst basketball of his career, and it's not even close. Beasley's O-Rating is a putrid 86 and he's at a -1.2 offensive win shares. And he was supposed to be one of the Suns' go-to scorers. Defensively, he hasn't been much better, with a 110 D-Rating and 0.3 defensive win shares. By any statistical measure you look at, Beasley has been one of the worst players in the league.

Beasley spent a couple games riding the bench before rejoining the rotation against Boston, and as soon as he stepped on the court Boston went on a run and took control of the game with Beasley's man Jeff Green going off for 10 points.

I really have no idea why Beasley has been this horrendous, but the fact is he has been and I see no reason to expect much improvement. It's time to pull the plug on the Beasley experiment already. If the Suns can't find a way to move him in a trade, then they need to bite the bullet and waive him at the end of the year using the stretch provision. This would allow them to spread the remaining money due to Beasley over the next five years for cap purposes, minimizing the damage done.


Goran Dragic: B

Goran Dragic was the Suns' other big free agent acquisition this summer. The Suns brought Dragic back to the Valley of the Sun to replace another departed veteran in Steve Nash, and thus far Dragic has done a solid, if unspectacular, job of running the point.

Dragic is putting up 14.5 points and 6.3 assists in 32.7 minutes per game. Those are above-average number for a point guard. However, Suns fans thought they were getting a little more in Dragic after seeing him put up 18 points and eight assists per game as a starter for Houston.

Dragic got off to a great start in November, but has struggled with inconsistency since then, and the Suns have struggled to win. However, while Dragic does need to step up and be more assertive, he has been placed in a very difficult situation (the Suns' roster is a mess, and their play on the court reflects that). I'm giving Dragic a bit of a pass right now.

Overall, Dragic was a good signing and is a solid, above-average starting point guard moving forward.

Shannon Brown: C-

The Suns brought Shannon Brown back on a cheap two-year contract after the shooting guard market dried up, and they've got pretty much what they expected out of him. He wasn't good last year, and he hasn't been good this year. Occasionally he gets hot and makes some shots, but his shot selection is almost always poor and he really doesn't do much to help the Suns win, especially considering his efforts on the defensive end.

Brown has been what the Suns should have expected him to be so far, although he's really been struggling over the last several games and we haven't seen any of those games where he's got it going (thus the minus).

Brown's second year is not fully guaranteed, so the Suns can move on without him next year if they so choose. I'm hoping they do. Jared Dudley and P.J. Tucker are a solid pair of wings. Now the Suns need to focus on upgrading at the other two wing spots (Beasley, Brown). Either draft or sign someone. Just don't bring Brown back for another year.

Jermaine O'Neal: B+

When the Suns brought in O'Neal, I thought he was done. He looked really old in Boston, and couldn't stay healthy. But we've seen a completely different O'Neal in Phoenix. Jared Dudley tweeted this summer that O'Neal looked five years younger, and he wasn't kidding.

However, at times O'Neal has played as if he really were five -- or maybe 10 -- years younger offensively, and it's led to some very poor shots. However, poor shot selection is not an uncommon trait on this Suns roster, and O'Neal has provided a solid interior defensive presence.

The fact that O'Neal has played in 28 games this year in itself is a small miracle, and more than good enough for a B grade. But this should be a one-year thing, for both parties. In fact, the Suns might be well-served to scope out the trade market and see what contender may be in need of another big.

P.J. Tucker: A

From Summer League, to a guaranteed contract, to a rotation spot and now a starting spot, P.J. Tucker's path is a testament to where hard work and a little defensive intensity can take you. Tucker was the the Suns best pick-up, value-wise, an he continues to impress.

Tucker is a hard-nosed player who doesn't back down from anyone. He's easily the Suns best perimeter defender, and probably one of their better rebounders as well. And now he's even begun to show some signs of an offensive game.

Tucker isn't a gamechanger by any means, but he is a solid find and should be a keeper moving forward.

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