“You don’t get good on accident,” 17-year NBA veteran Mike Miller told Denver Nuggets’ guard Malik Beasley as the two wrapped up another set of two-a-day workouts the Wednesday before Labor Day weekend from an undisclosed location in Memphis.
Beasley, sprawled out on the hardwood in the video, which was captured on Twitter, had just gone through another Miller special: Running and sprinting into shots in the morning, then back to the gym in the afternoon for more shots, but this time on the ‘gun.’
“My arms are dead,” Beasley told BSN Denver from his home base in Atlanta shortly after touching down from the city where the phrase ‘Grit and Grind’ was born.
But those two-a-days with Miller, who is still debating if he’ll latch on with a team for his 18th year, are just a run of the mill weekday workout for Beasley. The 20-year-old has ramped up his offseason regiment ahead of his second professional season.
On a typical Monday through Saturday, Beasley, who has operated mostly out of Atlanta and Denver this summer will do skill work in the morning like ball handling, shooting, and defense with his personal trainer. Then, comes a nap and lunch before an afternoon session where on some Tuesdays and Thursdays depending on what area code he’s in, Beasley works with Lilian Abdelmalek, owner of DSA Training (Dynamic Speed Agility Training). Abdelmalek has trained Dwight Howard, Derrick Favors, Jaylen Brown and other professional athletes specializing in foot speed and agility across basketball, football, and baseball. If Beasley’s not with Abdelmalek, it’s back to the gym in the afternoon for more reps.
“Since high school, I’ve put in the work but this summer has been different,” Beasley said. “Now that I know the ropes to the NBA, I know what it takes to last long and be competitive so I’ve been putting in hard work and I can tell the difference. I can tell that I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I can tell that I’m shooting the ball well I can tell that my handles are where they need to be so this is the best I’ve been ever.”
Beasley has reached out to a number of veterans this offseason, including Miller (who Denver waived earlier this summer in part to clear enough space to sign Paul Millsap) to work out, improve his game and IQ.
“Next year, I’ll probably go down there (and work out with Miller) for a longer period of time,” Beasley said.
The 20-year-old can take cues from Miller on how to stick in the league. He can also look across Denver’s locker room at Millsap, the Nuggets’ marquee free agent signing this summer who organized a mini camp for his new teammates in Atlanta at his new state of the art facility the week of Aug. 14.
That minicamp built chemistry among Millsap, Beasley and Denver’s young roster and — a synergy that will be necessary to achieve the lofty playoff goals the Nuggets have for themselves this upcoming season. And although Besley likely won’t have a spot in Denver’s rotation to start the year, he’s staying ready and feels like he’s playing the best basketball of his life.
Here’s an educated guess at how Denver’s backcourt rotation will shake out at the beginning of the regular season: 20-year-old Jamal Murray will man the point with Gary Harris beside him in the Nuggets’ backcourt. As of right now, Jameer Nelson will handle Denver’s backup point guard duties with Will Barton getting a lot of run as Denver’s backup shooting guard. Emmanuel Mudiay, who started 41 games at point guard for the Nuggets last season, appears to be the odd man out as things currently stand, but he’ll surely get an opportunity during training camp and preseason to earn minutes.
That’s four guards slotted for significant playing time so unless injuries hit Denver’s backcourt, Beasley will wait in the wings for his opportunity.
“I feel way more confident now than I did last year,” Beasley said. “Last year, I didn’t know what to expect but this year I know what to expect and how things are going to happen and what I have to do to prepare.”
Beasley is heading back to Denver from Atlanta on Labor Day — the unofficial end of the offseason for most NBA players. Nikola Jokic, Monte Morris, Torrey Craig and others have already returned to Denver for good, but they’ll soon be joined by the rest of their teammates.
From now until training camp, which is set to begin on Sep. 26, Beasley will be where he’s most comfortable — in the gym, getting shots up. Once the regular season comes around he’ll also get back to his routine from last year which includes finishing up his degree at Florida State. Beasley plans to take two classes again just as he did during his rookie season.
Until the opportunity for playing time strikes, Beasley will wait in the wings, holed up on Denver’s practice court. When it does come about, he’ll attack it with full force.
“I’m ready for that next level, that next step,” Beasley said.