Michael Beasley is a player of great talent. He hasn’t always shown it on the basketball court. He was a #2 pick from the Miami Heat from 2008. All-Star projections haven’t come to fruition just yet, but there may be hope.
The 2013 Laker season was spent redeeming NBA players’ careers. Xavier Henry, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, Kendall Marshall, Chris Kaman, Wesley Johnson, and Jodie Meeks all did well for themselves. All of them are on the NBA radar, moreso compared to their previous years.
Some players didn’t pan out. Elias Harris didn’t stick onto the roster. Shawne Williams was waived half-way through the season. MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore had short stints as Lakers. Even Manny Harris from the NBDL was given a look.
Considering heavily sustained injuries that plagued the Laker team, more often than not, the players improved.
Michael Beasley can have a turn around of his own. At 6’8″ height with a 7′ wingspan, he once had player comparisons on par with Carmelo Anthony. His pull-up jumpshot, strength, and ability to get to the basket were elite levels coming out of Kansas State. Want some numbers to surprise you? He scored 26.2 points per game, averaged 12.4 rebounds per game, on 53.2% shooting from the field, 37.9% behind the 3-point line. He got to the free throw line 8.5 times per game, and forced 1.2 steals per game while averaging 1.6 blocks per game. If the statistics were to show a red flag, it would be his 2.9 turnovers per game on just 1.3 assists per game.
He had a classic battle against current All-Star Blake Griffin. Beasley had 34 points and 11 rebounds. Griffin had 27 points and 14 rebounds. Beasley, along with the Kansas State team, won the game.
Michael Beasley’s game is predicated on his midrange jumpshot. From there, he uses triple threat position to attack the rim, or simply pull up once the defender spaces him. He has the ability to use pivot work with jabsteps and swipe-throughs from the high post, similar to Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant. He’s an opportunistic defender, meaning, if he has a chance to make a play to draw a charge, block a shot, or steal the ball, he can commit to it. His focus while playing man-defense, bumping in the paint, or keeping up laterally along the perimeter, isn’t consistent.
Beasley’s discipline at Kansas State showed on the basketball floor. He was an unstoppable scorer, and more dynamic than most. It’s fair to say that his career trajectory has slipped along with the discipline. At age 25, the talent is still there for him to excel at the NBA level. If he were to be a Laker, he would be the second most talented player on the team. That is not a shot on anyone on the Laker roster. That is just a reflection of how long he’s gotten away with natural talent at the NBA level.
Consistency and discipline have been an issue throughout his career. But, if there’s one place where he could redeem it, it is with the Laker team. Coach Byron Scott made a promise to Laker fans about playing hard every night and committing to playing defense.
If Beasley can commit to that, his career can be resurrected.