PHOENIX — Michael Beasley put together a stellar performance for the second straight game on Friday, pouring in 25 points on 12-17 shooting to keep the Suns within striking distance during their closer-than-expected loss to the Warriors.
The effort against Golden State came after a 13-point outing in 17 minutes of playing time during a 25-point loss at the hands of the Clippers, a performance that Suns interim head coach Lindsey Hunter called Beasley’s best overall game of the season.
While Hunter may like to believe he’s had a positive effect on Beasley’s development in the short time he’s been in charge, the fact is that Beasley is his own man, and has taken matters into his own hands.
Speaking to reporters after the loss to the Warriors, Beasley credited his recent improved play to tuning out everyone around him, while listening only to himself.
“I’ve stopped listening to people, and I’m just doing what I know how to do,” Beasley said.
When asked what people specifically Beasley has stopped listening to, no one was excluded from his list — not even his coaches.
“Everybody,” he said. “Just everybody, from my friends, to family, to teammates, to coaches.”
The “coaches” remark didn’t go unnoticed. Aren’t the coaches there to help?
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “But at the same time, I’m the one out there in the fire. The coach can tell me what he sees from a third party perspective, but I’m seeing it first hand. Once I set a screen and I roll, and another guy steps up … if he doesn’t step up, I’ve got a jump shot. Or, I can go around him, or I’ve got [a teammate] for a dunk. There’s so many things that I can do that only my instincts can tell me.”
Lindsey Hunter may have noticed Beasley’s recent propensity to tune others out. He mentioned something he’s been doing in practice to try to make sure Beasley is in fact paying attention.
“He’s had some great practices, and I’ve been on him about paying attention,” Hunter said. “I’m constantly watching him, making sure, and I’ll randomly just ask him, what did a certain coach just say? Just to keep him focused in it. And he’s like, ‘coach, I’m not talking.’ I said, I know. But you’re listening to somebody. You’re doing something, because you’re not listening to what we’re telling you.”
This is a lost season for the Suns, and there are only a handful of games remaining over the next couple of weeks. Beasley’s improved play, should it continue, will undoubtedly be seen as a positive, no matter what the reasons are behind it.
His current head coach couldn’t care less what those reasons might be.
“Whatever his motivation is, then let it be that,” Hunter said. “I don’t really care.”