Archives For Michael Beasley

I defy you to watch this video and not fall in love with this guy.

DEFY YOU, I SAY!

Couple things I took away from this brief interview:

– Jump shot motion looks so much smoother and efficient. Now, that could completely go away when he gets into game action, but he talked about working on it and making progress. I believe him that he’s making progress because he seems incapable of lying.
– Beasley briefly caught chastising Ricky’s shoes? That was a quick shot and hilarious.
– Worries me a bit that the first three “talented” players Ricky mentioned from this off-season are Nick Young, Derek Fisher and Chauncey Billups. I’ll just blame it on being unfamiliar with the language. Maybe “Nick Young” translates to “Kevin Durant” in Spanish?
– He seems a lot more comfortable with talking to the media than we’ve seen and than what I expected from him.

Media Day is on Friday. CBA gets ratified within the next day. We’re 10 days away from preseason action.

Missed you so much, Wolves.

Beasley unbound

Benjamin Polk —  November 28, 2011 — 10 Comments

Friends, your 2011 lockout is blessedly over. I’d like to be able to tell you that this means that we can just forget it all and move on. But, for many reasons, we can’t. Owners will continue exploit every possible CBA wrinkle in order to personally embed diamonds into Drew Gooden’s (and Jerome James’, and Gilbert Arenas’) molars. People like the Maloofs will continue to invest in real estate bubbles in unlivable cities. Michael Jordan will continue to distill himself into a chewy white paste of sour self-interest. Certain players will continue to cash their paychecks in Cheesecake Factory bucks (if they existed). Michael Beasley will continue to be Michael Beasley.

I thought of B-Easy often during this lockout and not just because he got busted for weed, fell over in a pickup game, pushed a fan in the face, referred to the lockout as “retarded” and sued both is former agent and his AAU coach. I thought of him because in many ways this lockout was about players like him. The Union is all but required to secure as much money as humanly possible for its members not simply out of greed or charter, but because many players share some or all of his defining qualities. His adolescent education was itinerant and skeletal; he was a special ed kid who floated from high school to high school, carried along only by his serious hoop skills.  He went to college for one year (and probably less, if we’re honest). He probably won’t ever get that massive deal and his career might not last very long. A guy like that really needs Billy Hunter to do some work.

It pains me to say these things because, in my experience, Mike Beasley has been a totally likeable guy. I’ve seen him sing to himself with deep passion; I’ve seen him make a funny and totally not offensive joke about Kevin Love’s grandmother; I’ve seen him eat Skittles like a starving eight-year-old. So let me tell you why I worry that his rank of 109th on #NBARank may be the high watermark of his career.

1) His offensive game is high-volume, low-efficiency, unidimensional and inconsistent. We all know the paradigmatic Beasley possession. He holds the ball on the right wing, simultaneously sizing up his opponent and bleeding the shot-clock to within an inch of its life. Which sizing up is funny because everybody–you, me, the ball defender, the weakside help defender and probably B-Easy himself–knows what will happen next. He will drive left, pulling up at around the free-throw line; he will take a contested jumper. Chances are (about a 63% chance actually), he’ll miss it.  Most of us know the numbers by now: .514 career true shooting percentage; 27.3 career usage rate; bad news.

2) His defense is inattentive, his effort mercurial. His situational recognition–should I help or stay home? Should I sag into the paint or close out on that shooter?–is slow and often poor. And when his shot isn’t falling or the Wolves are struggling, that glint in his eye gets a little dull.

3) The Wolves just drafted a more efficient, more physical, probably more driven version version of him. One of Rick Adelman’s most pressing challenges is to find an effective, balanced frontcourt rotation. And although the rookie learning curve in a foreshortened season will be extra steep, my guess is that by season’s end Derrick Williams will be seeing the lion’s share of the small forward minutes.

We very much hope these things improve; we want a player as likeable and talented as Beasley to succeed, for his sake and for the Wolves’. It’s certainly not unheard of for players t0 become more creative, more driven or more efficient as they mature. But doing all of those things really is a tall order. There is just so much of Beasley’s game that needs to improve and doing so requires such incredible stores of focus, attention and discipline. These, I’m afraid, are qualities that Beasley hasn’t really shown he possesses.

 

This lovable, golden-hearted sports agent is saying "Show me the money"

You have probably read that Michael Beasley is being sued by Joel Bell, his former agent, for failing to pay a 20% commission on an endorsement deal. Beasley, in turn, is suing Bell as well as, Curtis Malone, his former AAU coach and mentor. Beasley’s suit claims that Bell and Malone conspired to manipulate the teenaged Beasley and his family–with money and friendship–into signing with Bell. Here’s what it says in Beasley’s complaint:

In addition to funneling money to Beasley’s mother from [Bell], [Malone] received benefits for his D.C. Assault program and money from [Bell] “on the side” or “under the table” in exchange for [Malone] at least attempting to manipulate NBA prospects like Beasley, but typically far less talented than Beasley, into signing an agency agreement with [Bell].

Now I have no business assessing the validity of the particulars here. It could be that Beasley really was a victim or that he is simply countersuing for legal leverage. But the awful truth is that these claims are  unremarkable; even if they aren’t true in this specific case, they are true in legions of others. This is because the AAU circuit (and its kissing cousins in college and sports agency recruiting) is a system that runs on the exploitation of teenagers, many of whom, like the young Mike Beasley, are poor and/or sorely in need of stable, nurturing relationships. It is terrible.

There are lots of sad elements to this case: the revelation that as a kid, Beasley was “assessed as having special education needs” stemming from “conduct problems” and an inability to focus; the fact that he attended six high schools in five different states, which is really just a tremendous approach to serving those special ed needs; the fact that many of the most important adults in his young life seemed to view their relationship with him as a commodity.

This is not Michael Beasley's wrist

Look, I know it’s a little weird to be obsessively monitoring the travel plans of an, in most respects, average 66-year-old man. I mean, it’s not like Rick Adelman is carrying a radical cure for Alzheimer’s (which also happens to give apes astonishing powers of intelligence and will usher in the end of human life on Earth) in his suitcase. And part of me agrees with Kelly Dwyer that, considering the Wolves’ brass weird unpredictability and the distinct possibility that they won’t even hire a coach during the lockout, we should just ignore this story until there is an actual name on an actual contract written in actual ink.

But this is what’s going on so I might as well just go ahead and say that Adelman is reported to be in Minneapolis today to meet with Glen Taylor. This is his second trip to the TC in as many weeks, which would seem to point to a level of seriousness yet unprecedented in this coaching search. But the truth is we have no idea what this means and anything we might say is really just speculation.

On that note, I wonder what airline he took and if he got to see a movie. Someone should ask him.

And speaking of things we don’t know anything about,  Hoop China is reporting that Michael Beasley broke his wrist while dunking during an exhibition. So far, this is just a rumor of a rumor, written on the winds of Twitter and in languages I don’t read; I’m just putting it out there.

Oh man, this offseason just gets longer and longer. Evidently our guy (an adult man, remember, who gets paid to play basketball) wasn’t aware that there would be hecklers at a streetball game in New York and is lacking the deep breathing skills necessary to keep things chill. From Ian Begley of ESPN New York (check the link for video):

He then approached one fan and shoved him in the face. Security guards stepped in to diffuse the situation. Shortly after “mushing” the fan in the face, Beasley approached him again to shake his hand, but the interaction escalated and Beasley had to be restrained by security. “He was a little wild,” said KaBourn Crosley, the coach of Team 914, on which Beasley played. “I couldn’t stop him.”

So that was a bad decision. Oh, Michael Beasley, what will ever become of you?

So it’s been kind of a bummer of a summer for Michael Beasley. First he gets caught doing 84 in a 65 with weed under the seat. (But that weed totally didn’t even belong to him, I swear. It was, like, his buddy’s?) And now this. In a DC pro-am game, B-Eazy gets absolutely humiliated on a devastating crossover by former New Mexico State guard Jahmar Young. The crowd heaps scorn upon him and the announcer repeats his mantra: “Beasley goes down! Beasley goes down!” His good name–as a guy who, uh, doesn’t fall down when playing basketball?–is forever tarnished. Check the tape:

Uh wait, that’s not even that bad. What’s everybody yelling about? Now this is a crossover:

The possibility of the Wolves indulging in Nellie-ball has the internets a-buzzing. First, at Truehoop today, Zach shows himself to be somewhat ambivalent on the Wolves’ plans to push the pace. Here’s an interesting tidbit:

To say Wolves fans just want to see up-tempo basketball seems to be extremely shortsighted. I think Wolves fans are willing to settle for up-tempo basketball if the wins aren’t going to be pouring in any time soon. If up-tempo basketball is going to make the Wolves more competitive than they were last season, I think it’s something we’d all settle for…If anything, this concept of the fans wanting to see faster paced basketball with Ricky Rubio running the show seems more like a marketing tool than a strategy for turning the Wolves around right now. It’s rebranding the image of a poor product.

That it may be.  Over at NBA Playbook, the indefatigable Sebastian Pruiti goes to his usual lengths to examine whether the Wolves really are built to run. Some of his conclusions make easy sense: Ricky Rubio is an elite open floor passer; Kevin Love’s great rebounding, outlet passing and trailing threes make him an ideal forward for a fast break team. Some are a bit more intriguing. For instance: although Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph are blessed with size and athletic ability, their poor decision making makes them below average transition players (although I’m thinking now about AR’s high-dribbling, no-passing end-to-end forays and I’m less surprised).

Finally, at The Point Forward, Zach Lowe discusses why, despite their fast pace, last year’s Wolves were such a bad transition team (though the Wolves led the league in pace of play, transition trips accounted for only 10.8% of their possessions, eighth worst in the league). First, he points to turnovers, which we’ve discussed. But then he drops this:

The Wolves are taking a lot of really terrible shots really quickly in their half-court offense. This is another way to “play fast,” and the Wolves were awful at it…A team’s shooting percentage tends to go down as the clock ticks from 24 to zero, so shooting early is good in theory. But it appears the Wolves are doing it in the worst way possible — by taking irresponsible, quick shots out of their half-court system and failing to work the clock for better ones.

Anyone who watched the Wolves play last year knows that this is indisputably true.

And then there’s one more fascinating fact. Many of the teams who played at the slowest pace actually ran more and did it more efficiently than the Wolves. Asks Lowe, “What in the world is happening here? Perhaps the simplest explanation is best: Better teams have better and smarter players who understand when to run and how to run effectively.”

Right on. I’d also point this out. Four of the teams that Lowe mentions as being among the best at playing in transition despite their slow pace (the Heat, Bulls, Grizzlies and Celtics) are in the top ten in the league in defensive efficiency. It turns out that if you want to score on the break, it helps to make the other team miss.

 

Depending on who you ask, marijuana isn’t particularly harmful. Sure it might lead to bouts with forgetfulness and exceeding one’s weekly calorie intake in a matter of hours, but all in all, Mary Jane isn’t regarded to be the life altering substance her powdery cousins are. However it is illegal and on the list of the NBA’s controlled substances. So Michael Beasley’s roadside encounter last week could prove to be disastrous for a fledgling career already teetering in the balance.

Though it’s still unclear whether a fines or suspension shall incur, there’s undoubtedly trouble waiting on the other end of this commercial break for the Beas. His talent and personality have carried him this far, but these repeated exhibitions of recklessness are making him a liability, whether by truth or perception. How much longer before this show is over?

 

 

 

 

Photo by Dullhunk

Just what is going on with the Minnesota Timberwolves? The team is losing; nothing new to report there. But these recent bummers are unlike those December close calls, in which only late game meltdowns born of inexperience prevented the team from knocking off superior squads. No, these recent games are much less encouraging, much more reminiscent of grim years gone by, years whose hallmarks were uninspired effort and a deep lack of imagination.

The most obvious place this shows up, of course, is on defense. The Wolves opened this game with one of the least impressive three minutes of defense you will ever hope to see. Memphis’ guards easily broke down the Wolves’ D; shots went practically uncontested; cutters roamed free. It wasn’t simply a lack of enthusiasm or intensity although this was certainly evident tonight; the Wolves are just terribly imprecise and unintuitive defensively.

Thanks in a large part to their difficulty preventing drivers from penetrating the paint, the Wolves weakside defenders tend to shade too far off of their own assignments in an effort to provide help. The irony of this is that their rotations are still late; the Wolves both over-rotate and rotate too slowly. As a result, any sustained ball movement by their opponent generally leads to, at least, an open jumper, with the Wolves scrambling to recover.

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