Between strong plays for jazz, Malik Beasley adds a new family member

Portland • None of the Utah Jazz have gotten much sleep lately due to a previous three-game trip east that included several long flights and a few layovers that didn’t land until the early hours. Then, after two home games that week, the team headed back out for two games on the West Coast.

But even if they didn’t all feel their best for a few days, any of them would admit that no one slept less than Malik Beasley.

Having a baby in the middle of the NBA season will do this to you.

“Yeah, it was tough,” Beasley said ahead of Tuesday’s loss to the Knicks. “…I’m just trying to loop it through.”

That this grind coincided with his best basketball streak this season is all the more incredible.

In the six games spanning from the Jazz’s Nov. 9 game against the Hawks to this Saturday’s win over the Blazers, the sniper wing averaged 20.3 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 51.2% of the darts field and 46.9% on 10.7 attempts per game shot beyond the arc.

Two days after the team’s victory over Trae Young & Co., the Atlanta native was with her wife Montana Yao when she gave birth to the couple’s second child. New daughter Mia Love Beasley joined 3-year-old brother Makai.

The next day, he flew to Washington to rejoin his teammates and contributed 16 points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal while hitting 4 of 9 attempts from 3-point range against the Wizards. Playing a back-to-back in Philadelphia the following night, he lost 18 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal while hitting four more three-pointers.

In this weekend’s back-to-back set, he posted a season-high 27 points in Friday’s win against the Suns and then surpassed that with 29 more points on Saturday as the Jazz held their own against the Blazers.

His team was impressed by his steadfastness.

“Obviously, having a new baby in the house brings with it some sleep issues – anyone with kids knows that – but I didn’t notice it at all in his game,” said coach Will Hardy. “I think he’s played pretty well the last few games and been very involved in film sessions, team meetings and shootarounds.”

Mike Conley, who left the Orlando bubble in August 2020 and missed the start of the Jazz vs. the Nuggets playoff series to return to Columbus, Ohio for the birth of his son, can empathize with the physical and mental toll Beasley has endured experienced these last days.

Given that, he felt it was quite an achievement for Beasley to play as well as he did.

“Yes, it was incredible. His ability to experience that and get right back on a plane and play right back and be as good as he was to us and [to balance] his commitment to the team, his family – it was just amazing to watch him do everything at once,” said Conley. “I know it’s tough and we ask a lot of him, but he was great.”

Beasley asked how he pulled it all off, smiled and simply said, “Adrenaline.”

He then elaborated that he loves his job — so much it doesn’t feel like a job — and that’s why he just made it his goal to try and have fun.

And after a rocky start to his first season with the Jazz, where he came off the bench in all but two games (when he started in place of the injured Jarred Vanderbilt), he feels he’s finally gotten into a rhythm that he develops enough chemistry with his new teammates to know how best to complement them and how they can complement him.

His teammates see it in positive play – and not just draining 3s.

“You can just tell that his confidence keeps growing. We’re going to need that, especially across the street,” said security guard Collin Sexton. “But even now on the defensive side – he communicates and plays really well.”

Conley explained where he sees Beasley blossoming now.

“He was just very, very aggressive on both ends of the floor,” said Conley. “Offensively he’s obviously going to find his shot, he’s going to make his shots, he’s going to find spots where he can be aggressive. But he also picked it up defensively – he was aggressive on the ball.”

When he was told that several teammates had praised his efforts on that side of the ball, he seemed genuinely surprised and grateful.

“You have? That’s great to hear man!” he said Friday after the Jazz paused against Phoenix. “I busted my ass protecting the best players I can.”

As for his recent offensive productivity, says the nearly 26-year-old Beasley naturally never doubted that he would make things happen.

When asked if he’d changed anything or if the ball was just going in more regularly, he didn’t even finish the question before giving his answer.

“The ball is starting to go in more regularly. I never change anything,” Beasley said. “If I hit 30 [or] If I score two points, I follow the same routine every time. The numbers always balance out in the end. And the numbers have leveled off. So I’m just trying to get forward.”

Well, that and trying to catch some extra Zs if Baby Mia lets her.