MEMPHIS (AP) – The Memphis Grizzlies see all reward with no risk in giving Michael Beasley, the second overall draft selection in 2008, a chance to show them what he can do during training camp.
General manager Chris Wallace says Beasley is one of six guys in training camp with a chance to show the Grizzlies what they’ve got and they’ll see where this goes. Wallace says there’s no depth chart for the regular season with Beasley’s name on it or an estimate of minutes.
“It’s up to him to show us, make the case for himself then we’ll see where this goes,” Wallace said. “We’re just at the beginning of it with training camp started, and obviously he’s someone that’s very talented … His career hasn’t gone the way he would’ve liked but this is the perfect place for him to rebound.”
It won’t be easy for the 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward who played 55 games with the Miami Heat last season and now is with his fourth NBA team. Memphis’ bench is as deep as it’s ever been with Kosta Koufos, Jon Leuer, Quincy Pondexter and rookie Jarnell Stokes.
Coach Dave Joerger said Beasley with his athleticism can defend both power and small forwards, a big help in the NBA with every team playing stretch power forwards. Joerger likes Beasley’s ability to defend those forwards along with being a very good scorer.
“I think he’ll be tremendous playing at the elbow, playing pick and rolls,” Joerger said. “He’s the kind of athlete that we don’t really have since the Rudy Gay trade.”
For his part, Beasley said Monday at the Grizzlies’ media day that he is willing to play whatever position asked from guard to forward or even the six to laughs. He plans to come in and work as hard as possible to help the Grizzlies win.
“The main part of my game I would like everyone to see is the mental part, and you can’t really see it but just the fact that I’m learning and I’m still growing as a player,” Beasley said.
Beasley now is 25, and he has averaged 13.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 409 games. He averaged 7.9 points and 3.1 rebounds over 15.1 minutes per game with the Heat last season. He shot a career-best 49.9 percent for Miami, but his career has been far from what was expected when drafted by Miami in 2008 after his All-American freshman season at Kansas State.
He’s not the only player the Grizzlies added just before training camp. The others include Patrick Christopher, Luke Hancock, Kalin Lucas, forward Earl Clark and center Hassan Whiteside.
To ease his transition into Memphis, Beasley spent the past two weeks working out and playing with the Grizzlies. He also knows Zach Randolph, Nick Calathes, Courtney Lee and has gotten to know Marc Gasol over the past couple years.
“Honestly, man my main focus is just playing hard and getting in tip-top shape,” Beasley said. “As far as my position where I’m going to play, that’s all up to the coaches.”
Gasol was drafted in the same year as Beasley and got to know the forward through former Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo playing cards and spending time together. He called Beasley really talented and wants to see how the team meshes in training camp at the University of California San Diego where the Grizzlies are working through Friday.
“I want to see how everything unfolds,” Gasol said.
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