Michael Beasley's Offensive Season


Now that we've had a few days to process this season after its merciful end Wednesday night, it's time to look to the future, and who the Suns will target in the draft and free agency. However, those of us wishing for a roster turnover should know that the Suns have 10 players under contract for next year (Dragic, Gortat, Frye, Beasley, Scola, Dudley, Brown, Morris, Morris and Marshall). This list doesn't include P.J. Tucker, a player who showed enough hustle and grit that I'm sure the team would like to bring him back next season.

Not many of those players under contract have much trade value, so it's possible the Suns return a similar core of players to those that closed the season. This includes the player who was the most disappointing performer on the roster, Michael Beasley. Signed in July to much fanfare and optimism, Beasley just completed a season which was an unqualified disaster. How bad was he? By one key measure, Michael Beasley had the worst season any Suns player has ever had.

There are several ways to assess a player's worth; I tend to look at advanced stats rather than simple ones because advanced stats consolidate several measures into one. It's a cost/benefit analysis, and simple stats like PPG or RPG only show a player's benefit without consideration to cost. How many opportunities did a player require to produce his raw scoring, rebounding or assist totals?

Beasley's a scorer. His defense is porous, and he's a lackluster rebounder, so providing punch on the offensive end was the primary reason he was brought to Phoenix. His skillset has been compared to Carmelo Anthony, and he had averaged over 20 points/36 minutes in two of his four seasons before joining the Suns this past summer.

Total offensive win shares is a stat which estimates a player's contribution to wins based on points scored, assists, shooting percentage, and turnovers. It shows what a player added to the bottom line versus what he took from it. A full definition of the measure can be found here.

For some context, the all-time leaders in offensive win shares per season in the modern era of the NBA (since the 3-point shot was implemented) include Michael Jordan's 15.16 in the 87-88 season and LeBron James' 14.61 this season, while several other Jordan seasons are in the top 10. This season's top five is LeBron, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, James Harden and Deron Williams. Superstars all around.

Beasley was a negative this season with -2.5 OWS, the worst season of offense any Suns player has ever had. This doesn't mean Beasley is the worst offensive player the Suns have ever had, only that he was the most awful player who was given the opportunity to do such damage to the team. Here's a list of Suns players with worse than -1.0 OWS seasons:


Other players on this list include Georgi Glouchkov, the first NBA player from the Eastern Bloc, drafted by the Suns in an innovative, forward thinking move in 1985. But the league and culture shock were too much for the Bulgarian, and he flamed out in one forgettable season.

There's also William Bedford, drug addict and #6 overall pick in the 1986 draft, to whom the Suns gave every opportunity that season, and Bedford returned the favor with 12.3 P/36M on .397 shooting. Then he landed in prison, but there is a possible redemption story.

Rick Robey was the product of one of the epic all-time Suns mistakes when Dennis Johnson was traded for him; and then there's Jim Jackson, who had a terrible 04-05 season followed by a playoff run in which he shot .516 from 3 over 15 games as the Suns made the Western Conference Finals. Art Harris and Gary Gregor were before the 3-point era. Anyone who has heard of them earns 50 internet points.

Beasley's -2.5 OWS also rated him the 9th worst season among all NBA players in the 3-point era:


A player doesn't get to this "achievement" by being completely horrible; he gets there by being just good enough, and his team just bad enough, that his team keeps going to him in hopes of eventually striking gold. Look at the other players on that list, and you'll see that most of them were young, former high draft picks. Young players who have shown flashes will get play on bad teams looking for something, anything to build on. That was this season's Suns, and the situation with Beasley. His results:

  • More turnovers (144) than assists (111)
  • More FGAs (766) than total points scored (759)
  • .405% shooting from the field overall, .313 from 3 for an eFG% of .434
  • 0.79 points per possession, ranking him 381st in the league

At times, Beasley's bizarre eccentric behavior included him talking to the rim after a missed shot. Apparently, his negotiations there failed because it was far and away the worst season of Beasley's checkered, and overall disappointing, five year career.

This post is not intended to wallow in the negativity of Beasley's train wreck of a season, but merely to note exactly how poorly he performed. (And, keep in mind, this only chronicles his offensive offense; his atrocious defense is another story.) This wasn't just a run of the mill bad season. It was a failure of historic proportions, the full scope of which should be considered when deciding on Beasley's future in Phoenix. But hey, at least he wasn't as bad as Mark Macon or Anthony Avent!

Note: all stats here were sourced from and