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NBA Atlanta Hawks

Michael Beasley: The Good and the Bad

A few days ago I was asked by my buddy, Jonny about Michael Beasley, and I realized I really go back and forth on how I feel about him, so I thought I’d give some of my thoughts on his progression, potential, and how he fits in with the team today.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

It’s hard to say that Beasley has really “progressed” since he came to Minnesota last off season.  If anything, maybe he’s regressed a little.  If you look at his game logs on NBA.com, he’s shown throughout the season that he still has that potential to be a team’s number one scoring option.  Now, he’s been riddled with injuries and all of the losing has to weigh on your motivation and confidence, but at the beginning of the season he was putting up 25-30 point games on almost a nightly basis (especially starting in late November-December), so if anything he’s lost some consistency, but they guy’s scoring abilities are the least of my worries.  I’m confident it will come around for him if he can stay healthy and confident.

Confidence is probably one of the biggest issues the Wolves have (other than preventing the other team from scoring).  More so with Wes Johnson and Darko, than anybody else, but I’ll keep this focused on Beasley.  He came into the season with his swag turned up to Charlie Sheen.  He was seriously talking like he was on something saying he was an assassin and sporting a samurai haircut.  I remember seeing an interview with him during the preseason where he said that, the Timberwolves were the team to beat this season.  I think quite obviously all of the losing was a bit of a reality check and you can see it reflected in his numbers, but honestly I love that mind-set.  Beasley is wacky, he’s a little nuts, but if  it works for the guy and it keeps his confidence up, I want him to keep believing it.

As far as the rest of his game goes, he still manages to put up some double digit rebounding nights despite Kevin Love hogging  most of them, but his defense is God-awful at times (ok, most times) all season long I’ve watched him turn his head and lose the his man or slip out of position giving the other team easy baskets, and I can’t really say i’ve seen any improvement from him on that end of the floor.  I have noticed he can be a bit of a “Ricky Davis” and is more focused on defense when his shots are dropping.  But even if he’s averaging 30ppg, he’s still going to have off nights, so you don;t want to see that kind of correlation.  My other issue with him is his turnovers.  He has games where he’s just careless with the ball.  It usually happens after he’s caught the ball on the perimeter, and he spends 7 seconds sizing up his man (bringing our O. to a stand-still) and then he makes a silly pass or someone comes behind him and knocks it away.  So, he needs to get better within the offense, and I do think he’s been doing less standing, so the coaching staff must be on him about that.

I’ll be honest, after the first 2 and a half months of the season I was sure Beasley was going to be our #1, possibly the key guy to getting our franchise (at least) out of the toilet and onto the urine stained rim of the bowl.  Recently though, I’d began to lose faith as he’s struggledhttp://www.wolvescourt.com/wp-admin/post-new.php?post_type=post through the end of the season, but I saw a quote from him about next season in an ESPN article :

“I’m shooting for the playoffs next season,” Beasley said. “I’m not taking anything less. I’m going into the summer with a workout plan. I’m not taking a break like I did last summer. I will work hard all summer and come back a better player, a better teammate. We’re going to come back a better team.”

All I could think was, this guy doesn’t give up.  He got traded from a contender to a 17 win team he’s at the end of an awful season in the middle of one of the longest loosing streaks he’s probably ever been on in his entire basketball career, and he’s talking about going to work for next season!!!??  He’s been playing through injuries all season, even long since they playoffs or any kind of respectable record were a possibility.  You can say what you want about his off the court issues, but on the court, this kid’s got his head in the right place.