A roster of Wolves: Michael Beasley

Zach Harper —  June 29, 2012 — 6 Comments

Another year and another bundle of frustration for Michael Beasley and those that want him to be great good oh hell let’s just be adequately productive.

Michael Beasley had the excuse last year of the ankle injury that seemed to crop up every time he hit the floor. This year, he had the excuse of a lockout-hastened season, a new coach, a new system, new teammates, the sun was in his eyes, the locker room is too cold, the locker room is too hot, the arena is a little outdated, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia hasn’t been very good for the last three seasons and it’s affecting his mood, Anthony Randolph’s lack of emotion on his face is freaking him out, he has to keep an eye on Pek at all times, are they using that synthetic ball again?, and whatever else his supporters will try to figure out to throw at his detractors. That’s been the problem with Michael Beasley since he came into the league with Derrick Rose and Kevin Love, et al.; there’s always an excuse for why he isn’t better on the basketball court.

In high school and college, the competition sucks. We can pretend college basketball is the heartland of fundamentals and team basketball but the reality is college basketball is a big arena of suck. You can press against teams because the guards aren’t that good. Passes are off, dribbling is weak, shooting is off, and anybody with superior athletic ability and a pretty decent chunk of skills can pretty much show out each night. That’s what Michael Beasley did on the AAU circuit and that’s what he did at Kansas State. If he slipped up, it didn’t matter because the competition wasn’t good enough to stop him. Move to the NBA and the competition, scouting and preparation is far too good to just fake your way through the game. Anybody can end up putting up points at the NBA level but HOW do you put up points?

In 2010-11, when Beasley was battling ankle turns and jacking up shots to put up pretty points, he was doing so inefficiently. In the 3-point era (1979 to present day), 38 players have put up 20 points or fewer per game while attempting 17 or more shots per game. Michael Beasley is on that list and ranks 31st in WS/48. He’s sandwiched in between Isaiah Rider’s 2000 campaign with the Atlanta Hawks and Ron Mercer’s 2001 season with the Chicago Bulls. His PER for that season is 26th out of those 38 players, between Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf in 1993 and Antoine Walker in 2005.

When this season started, Rick Adelman seemed to at least pretend to try to make it work with Beasley. He started the first seven games, averaging 12.9 points on 14.1 attempts per game. He shot just 39.4% from the field. Then he sprained his foot and missed the next 10 games. It gave Adelman an excuse not to have him in the lineup much anymore. When he came back, the team was playing pretty good basketball, figuring things out on the fly. Beasley was given the role of being the scoring sixth man off the bench. As long as they were winning, Beasley said he was fine with it. There were games in which this looked like a brilliant move. Beasley would actually attack the glass or play a little defense (not often but it happened!). Beasley would still jack up the same shots that frustrate coaches non-stop but there was intermittent effort.

As the season went on and things took a turn for the worse, Beasley never fully embraced his role as the Lamar Odom or James Harden or Jason Terry of this team. He broke off plays on the offense. If he got hot (remember the Clippers?), it all looked justified. When he wasn’t hot, it looked like Adelman was ready to try J.J. Barea at small forward instead.

Now the Wolves have to decide tomorrow whether or not a qualifying offer should be extended to Beasley. The qualifying offer would mean that (most likely) worst-case scenario for Beas is a one year, $8.2 million deal. If you’ve watched Beasley the last two years and aren’t related to him, it’s probably making you break out in cold sweats thinking about paying him $8.2 million for a year of basketball. That’s Kris Humphries money after all!

Believe it or not, I actually like Michael Beasley quite a bit. He’s fun to be around in the locker room. He’s a jovial and off-the-wall kind of guy. And MAYBE another year under Adelman and a full training camp with the coaching staff could finally right the ship that is Michael Beasley. However, at a certain point it’s no longer about the things going on around him. The things he’s choosing to do in the game of basketball are the only excuse for why he’s not playing up to his potential. He may figure it out some day and make everybody that didn’t give him a “long enough chance” look foolish.

I just don’t want the Wolves to continue to wait to see if THIS is the year he puts it together.

Zach Harper

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6 responses to A roster of Wolves: Michael Beasley

  1. I think its hilarious that wolves fans feel the need to bash one of the only three talented players on their roster. The whole team is trash and going no where, just be happy with what you have and hope your franchise doesn’t get moved.

  2. Yeah, he’s so talented that he couldn’t get minutes over Wes Johnson. I’m sorry your relative wasn’t portrayed in a favorable light here.

  3. I’m sorry that your hate for someone clouds your judgment:
    -The only three talents on the wolves are Rubio, Love, and Beasley

    -Williams is a pf and despite his talent he’s going to be stuck behind love in the rotation
    -Wes Johnson is a mess that got minutes for injured Beasley throughout the season
    -Love is good offensive pf that doesn’t like to play defense
    -Rubio is a good passing point guard that struggles in the half court and is already dealing
    with an acl injury to start his nba career
    -Beasley is a good scorer and poor defender
    -Pekovic is productive big but is also a ball stopper and poor defender
    -Malcolm lee is a question mark
    -JJ Barrea is on and off
    -Luke is a productive backup that is best suited as a backup

    I’m not related to any of them nor do I know them personally, but there are only three players that stand out in terms of skill and talent one of them being Beasley. I just don’t understand why wolves fans are so willing to bash their own players, when we don’t have anything else. If we lose Beasley than there’s only Love and Rubio(?) which equals us getting worse, its common sense. Also Kahns fixation with Pau Gasol could cost a potentially productive backup in Derrick Williams as well.

  4. I wouldn’t pay him 8.2 million, But I would take him back next year much cheaper. He is the only player on the team that can get buckets when ever he wants. And what else out there like him is coming here? He has the skill just not the determination. I was hoping that K-loves work ethic would rub off or maturity would hit home. But when you compare his numbers to Riders then you heart can sink. He is just another super talented kid who got it all to come to him without any effort and was told your the best with out ever having to prove it. But still if these coaches could just squeeze alittle more out of him…

  5. Personally I think it better for Beasley to leave Minny because it’s obvious that the fans don’t appreciate him. Once he heads to another team, Wolves fans will certainly be eating plenty of crow.

  6. JT’s Hoops Blog That sure was the case wasn’t it? We sure are eating crow now.

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