Michael Beasley is a highly talented athlete. SportsReference.com has his collegiate statistics. They are huge numbers. NBA players that can emulate these numbers at the highest level are bonafide All-Stars: 26.2 points per game, 12.4 rebounds per game, 56.2% from the field, 37.9% behind the arc.
Off the top of my head, the only player that comes close to getting those numbers at the NBA level is Kevin Love.
Our own Jacob Rude gave an update about Michael Beasley, saying he was brought on for a second Laker workout. Why not? The talent is there.
The last time a Laker player averaged monsterous numbers but had a few mishaps along the way, was Bob McAdoo. Basketballreference.com displays the statistics clearly; 34.5 points per game, 10.3 rebounds per game, on 51.2% from the field, back in 1974. He later became a sixth man for the early 1980’s Lakers teams, averaging 15 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game in 22 minutes of play back in 1982. His prime had been long gone, but he stayed troubled-free enough for the Laker team to win a few early championships.
His past had haunted him:
McAdoo’s two years in Detroit proved to be no happier. The Pistons were in turmoil, and McAdoo suffered a string of injuries. In 1980-81, he played in only six games for the Pistons and finally waived him after he filed a grievance with the players’ association. The New Jersey Nets signed him late in the season and he appeared in 10 games. But he and the Nets could not agree on a contract for 1981-82, and amid whispers of “malingerer” and “troublemaker,” McAdoo’s once-shining career appeared over. – Link to Bob McAdoo’s NBA biography in the above quote.
His redemption came when the pressure was off. He was no longer a franchise player for a team. He was a critical contributor for a winning team. He won two championships with the Lakers in 1982 and 1985.
Former NBA All-Star J.R. Rider was a tremendous athlete. Does anyone still remember he won an NBA slam dunk championship? Does anyone remember when he had a stint as a Laker? He had a reputation for being late to team functions. His history with drug use followed him throughout his career. He simply couldn’t continue his perennial All-Star level of play at the NBA level after a tremendous rookie year. He had several second chances, but it didn’t work out. Still, the Lakers gave him a chance in 2001. The Lakers had a tremendous playoff run of 15-1 during that summer. J.R. Rider was left off of the playoff roster.
What does this all mean?
A Michael Beasley could be considered a high-reward, low-risk signing. While the Laker team is thinking about playoff hopes and not championship dreams, finding any kind of great NBA talent is tough to find under the current CBA rules. Players and organizations have to coördinate to create iconically-talented teams.
Things worked out well for Bob McAdoo. Things didn’t work out for J.R. Rider. Considering the long-standing Laker interest in Michael Beasley, the Lakers could just sign him to the veteran minimum. What is there to lose? McAdoo came out with two championships. Rider was left off the playoff roster and went 15-1. Yes, the Laker organization would like some security on their investment in the signing, but if there was any security, he wouldn’t be available.
We just hope Michael Beasley figures it all out. He’s far too talented and still has plenty of time to create a perennial All-Star career. It would take a lot of discipline and hard work, but the benefits would be tremendous. It’s not just for the fans, but simply making the best of what he’s given.