I take a day off from the wonderful world of sports. I get a little sun, do a little writing, drink 2 screwdrivers and get owned online in Madden because I just don't know what I'm doing with Jake Delhomme.
Then in the middle of the night, I get a text message from an old trusted friend about how the Heat season is hopeless. Being an admirer of the organization since Pat Riley flew down here from New York and hi-jacked Miami basketball for the better, I took it to heart. He tells me that Michael Beasley was THE 2008 draft class bust, he's a miserable drug addict, and he can't find his place in the NBA...
"C'mon man, chill out." I told him, "Beasley can ball."
"Well he's balling in rehab."
It took a while for me to respond to that. I later got a few IMs from a few more good friends, one of which was a fully recovered drug addict who just brought a child to the world, and they're asking me how things got so difficult for the Big Easy. Without looking into the issue, I explained how Miami can be like to an independant 20-year old. It's a very beautiful city to which I owe an infinite supply of memories. But where the beauty climbs the fat pink skies comes the vices. And I don't have to tell you, in fact you can learn a lot by watching Cocaine Cowboys on Netflix. A most excellent documentary.
So now I'm here getting my research on. And I saw what everyone had to say.
If drugs are involved. And I'm saying IF. C.R. Bauman is saying IF.
So, If drugs are involved, and he's going to rehab. Then good for him. He's a 20-year old with the responsibility of bringing better basketball to a community, he also brought a daughter into the world a few weeks after a disappointing playoff performance against the Atlanta Hawks. He's going through a lot and if he's with John Lucas at a substance abuse rehab center, why are we treating him like he's getting caught? He's owning up. People do crazy things at the age of 20. And he's seeking help to change his ways. And for that I give him an applaud.
I have sympathy for Beasley because we don't know what he's going through. At first, he was rocking purple and black for K-State and impressing scouts with his ball-handling, jump-shooting, and post technique. He became the poster-child for the 2008 Draft Class. Then Derrick Rose impressed us all and stole the spot. And Chicago obviously did the right thing. Derrick Rose is one of my favorite point guards, a position I play.
So I read a few articles about how Beasley is now Chris Washburn...
My gloves are off. I'm swinging on you guys. The bartender will be telling me to take it outside and I will.
take a look at the 1986 draft class. And let's not count Arvydas Sabonis (who at the time was a BEAST) since he didn't come to the league for another 10 years. Only 6 all-stars and a hall of fame selection for Drazen Petrovic. The #2 pick also died of a drug overdose before setting foot on the floor for the regular season.
Now think about the rookies of Beasley's class and I rest my case.
I want to go into the stats. I want to point out how little minutes Miami gave the guy to develop. But basketball is a game I love to play. And I can't analyze a man's hitting simply by arguing that he should have had more at bats. But if you're interested, Beasley finished the year with 24 minutes per game and he only started averaging as much because Miami was letting him play for 35-40 to cover for the injuries of Udonis Haslem, Jamario Moon, and Jermaine O'Neal. And if you look at his numbers per 36 minutes, he's averaging 20 and 8.
But the problem on the court is that he's a creative person. Creativity on the court is a tough transition especially on the professional level. When you have guys who feed their families on how they protect the paint, a rookie can't come out and just whip out the right moves. There were games where he'd only play 5 minutes, and in those 5 minutes he had no time to establish any rhythm. He didn't know what was working. A creative player needs time and touches to read what the defense gives, and that's when the weapons work. When he only had two plays with the ball, he'd do a stupid half-spin or his first-step would fail. But if you watched him play 30 minutes, he simplified his game and became part of the Heat system. The jumper was wet and he found ways to rebound. Toward the last weeks of Miami's regular season he had a string of 25-point 15-rebound games with over 50% shooting.
He's someone who wants the ball. But no one wanted to talk about that. He was mentioned in as many trade rumors as Shawn Marion was. I could name three off the top of my head.
And with these rumors, you can't blame Heat fans for watching Wade's MVP-caliber effort and saying "Screw creativity. Let's be contenders."
So you're 20 years old, on your own, you're learning how to use your offense amongst the best in the basketball and the only thing the media says about him is where he should consider buying a new house. I feel bad for the guy, espcially when no one gave him any credit when he played the right way.
But now the 2nd pick of the draft fanfare has faded. Wade wants to be with contenders.
This is the month of August. The offseason is winding down and training begins.
And this is the best time for Michael Beasley to get his head straight.
Because come November, Derrick Rose will keep flirting with superstardom, Westbrook will fly higher, Brook Lopez and Greg Oden will swat balls into the stands, Kevin Love will continue to shine the offensive glass, O.J. Mayo's jumper will be sharper.
And Beasley will be ready and responsible for a new beginning.