Michael Beasley talks Michael Beasley
While my partner was gathering details on the resurgence of SuperCoolBeas from Wolves assistant coaches, I spent a few minutes with the man himself. I’ve done my fair share of interviews over the past few years and Beas’ playful candor is as refreshing as anyone I’ve encountered…
You’re obviously scoring in bunches lately. Last year you played one the league’s slowest paces with Miami and now you’re a part of the league’s fastest pace here in Minnesota. Is this tempo more suitable for you?
I’m just playing my game. Everybody keeps asking me where this is coming from, where I’m getting this boost. It’s just me. It ‘aint nothing new. I’ve been doing this my whole life.
There’s been a lot of talk that your numbers are bound to drop and personally, I’m not so sure…
That’s what I’m saying. This is how I play basketball.
I’m trying to fight the good fight for you though.
I feel you, but everybody keeps talking about my recent play. Let’s talk about the Timberwolves and how we’re 3-2 over our last five games. Let’s talk about something that really means something. Whether I score or not is not as important as the team winning.
But honestly, do you feel more comfortable with this offense than you did in Miami?
Of course, they pass me the ball!
This is a difficult system though. Even veterans have trouble adjusting to the triangle.
It’s not as complex as you would think. Every pass has a cut, every cut has a pass, every post has a cutter, you know. Everything goes with everything. You pass here, you cut here. Once you know where everything is coming from, it’s easy.
Now that you’re playing as a small forward, it’s easy for you to just square up and shoot over the smaller defenders you’ve faced…
I’m just playing ball. If you want to see where this play comes from, just watch tapes from 2007-08 and you’ll see what I’m comfortable doing. It’s nothing new. I just didn’t have the chance to do it in Miami.
There was a guy there who dominated the ball in Dwyane Wade.
Dwyane Wade, Jermaine O’Neal before he left, I had Shawn Marion, so I was playing behind All-Stars. I really didn’t have a chance to do this.
You’ve been really vocal on the court. You definitely play with a lot of passion, but you’ve also been instructing your teammates and trying to inspire them. Are you actively trying to take on a leadership role, or is that just your personality?
It’s my personality, but everybody keeps talking about how this team needs a leader, you know? Why not step up?
Do you feel like a leader?
I feel like a leader. I feel like I’ve got a lot of influence on a lot of my teammates. I’m not older. I’m what, the second youngest guy on the team?
A lot of these guys don’t have much experience though.
That doesn’t have a lot to do with it. I don’t know why they listen to me, but they listen to me… (Laughter)
On the floor, I don’t want to say ‘listen’ like I’m telling people what to do though. It’s not like that.
But you feel like they take your advice?
Yea, AT takes my advice. (Anthony Tolliver has been in the corner laughing at Michael for the past five minutes) AT, he’s the kind of guy who’ll take your advice and then he’ll throw something back like he was already thinking what you told him. But really, it’s just about knowing your personnel. You’ve gotta know who you’re talking to. You can’t just go up to a guy like Darko and say “Dunk the f*cking ball!” or “Pass the f*cking ball!” Oh, I forgot I was doing an interview…But anyway, it’s like a coach, you’ve got to know who you’re dealing with. Everybody’s different.
Things seem a lot looser around here than they were in Miami. Is there any lesson you brought with you from that experience?
Just the winning mentality. Most of the guys on this team haven’t been winning. Luke was in the playoffs last year, Martell was in the playoffs last year. And me, that’s it. Kosta was in the playoffs, but he didn’t really play a lot in Utah. But nobody really understands how to win. Everybody knows how to play, but in the NBA you’ve gotta know how to win. It’s hard to win in this league.
What do you think the primary thing is, as far as a winning mentality?
You’ve gotta believe. That’s all I do. I don’t believe anybody can beat us. That’s just the way I am, that’s the way I was brought up. I don’t lose until I lose, you know? I will never tell you that I think my team can’t win a championship this year, I will never tell you I think my team can’t beat everybody by fifty points. That’s the mentality that I have. You’ve just gotta have heart, you know? Mike Jordan wasn’t always the best player in the world.
We chatted for a few more minutes, but like most things involving Beasley, the conversation took a bit of a wild turn. We discussed the difference between South Beach and Minneapolis (primarily the weather), how he played Call of Duty for six hours straight until his back hurt and how he only plays with the Wolves on NBA 2K11, using only himself to score every basket. Yup, I’d say we’ve found our Alpha Wolf. Until next time….