Should the Chicago Bulls Take a Chance on Michael Beasley?

By Jon Keller
Michael Beasley
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It was the summer of 2008 and the Chicago Bulls had miraculously won the NBA Draft Lottery and were awarded with the first pick.  The draft was filled with talented collegiate and international players for the Bulls to pick from but the organization narrowed their list down to two players: Memphis guard Derrick Rose and Kansas State forward Michael Beasley.  Both had declared for the draft after playing just one season for their respected universities and were each seen as can’t miss prospects.

Rose was the homegrown explosive point guard.  With the exception to the one season Rose played at Memphis, he had spent the rest of his life playing basketball in Chicago.  Not only did he fit the mold of potential hometown hero, but the NBA was starting to become dominated by point guards with the emergence of young players like Chris Paul and Deron Williams.  Beasley, on the other hand, was a forward who could score anyway he wanted.  He could drive to the hole and also had a wet jumper.  The only knock on Beasley was his maturity.

Beasley was known as a jokester in high school and goofed off a little too much resulting in him getting into quite a bit of trouble.  In total he ended up going to six different high schools.  Most scouts believed that Beasley had gotten his behavioral issues under control by the time he got to college and did not believe that maturity would be a problem for him in the pros.

After the Bulls had worked out both players they decided to draft Rose and build their team around him.  It’s safe to say they made the right choice.  Since entering the NBA Rose has won the Rookie of the Year Award, played in three All-Star games, led Chicago to the Eastern Conference Finals and was voted league MVP in 2011.  Unfortunately Michael Beasley has not had the same success as Rose.

Beasley, who has played for three teams in five seasons (Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves and the Phoenix Suns) was recently cut by Phoenix.  Not only did Beasley have the worst year of his career this past season averaging a lackluster 10 points per game, but he also couldn’t stay out of trouble off of the court.

Since Beasley has entered the league trouble has seemed to follow him wherever he goes.  The first incident came very shortly after he was drafted when Beasley alongside fellow draft class members Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur were believed to have been smoking marijuana at the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program.  Although none of them were arrested, they were each disciplined by the league for their behavior.  The following summer after posting a picture on twitter in which a bag of marijuana was found in the corner of the photograph, Beasley checked into a rehabilitation center in hopes of straightening out what many believed to be a drug problem.

Things seemed to be back on track for Beasley in 2010 when he got a fresh start in Minnesota.  He had a career year for the Timberwolves averaging 19 points per game while shooting 45 percent from the field.  However, once the season came to an end Beasley just could not stay out of trouble as he was ticketed for possession of marijuana.

As I mentioned earlier, this was not the last time Beasley would find himself getting into trouble.  Most recently, after his worst year of what has already been a disappointing career, Beasley was arrested yet again on August 6 for possession of marijuana.  The Suns had had enough of Beasley and released him earlier this week.

Beasley is now a free agent, and there have been murmurs that maybe Chicago should sign him to a minimum contract.  Talent has never been an issue for Beasley it’s just the question of whether he can stay out of trouble.  A discipline coach like Tom Thibodeau would definitely do wonders for Beasley, but I don’t think it would be wise for the Bulls to take a chance on him.  Right now it seems like Beasley is mentally checked out of the game.  His productivity has decreased each of the past three seasons, and he just cannot for the life of him stay out of trouble.  Beasley needs to make significant changes in his off the court behavior before any team, especially a contender like Chicago, takes a chance on him.  Although he has only been in the league for five years, Beasley is already running out of second chances.

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