Michael Beasley, at age 25, is known to this day as one of the biggest draft busts in recent memory.
But that wasn’t always the case as Michael Beasley was once one of the most prized draft picks of the decade. He was also looked at as one of the top prospects declaring for the draft in recent memory, and made it a tough decision for the Bulls’ front office to draft the star floor-general, Derrick Rose, before him.
Growing up, “B-Easy” had the spotlight on him at a very young age. Scouts had been comparing him and the lanky scoring machine Kevin Durant since they were each members of the same AAU basketball team, the PG Jaguars. Believe it or not, several scouts, if not the majority of them, raved over how Michael Beasley was more talented and was better suited for NBA success than KD.
Getting accustomed to his surroundings and where he was living was never something Michael had to deal with in high school as he relocated to six different schools during his tenure as a high school student. Ranging from locations of Florida, Virginia, Massachusetts, and three schools in Maryland, stability is not a word you would be able to use to describe Michael’s high school life. So, Michael’s decision to leave Kansas State after just one year of pure domination, compiling a 26 and 12 stat-line, should have come as no surprise as it just wasn’t in Michael’s raising to stay put.
It’s hard to question his decision to leave however, as just a year before, injury-prone Greg Oden was drafted with the first pick overall and developed an injury bug that has been attached to his name to this day, since he entered the league as a rookie in ’07. Why would Michael risk getting hurt playing an additional year in college when draft experts like Chad Ford had him as a projected top-2 pick? That’s a rhetorical question many would think. What seemed like right decision at the time, however, may have backfired as it has become a growing trend in the NBA that the new era of one-and-done athletes are often times the less mature ones too, as they should. Most of these one year and move on athletes are only nineteen! To stay for another year or two might have made the difference for Beasley as it could have transitioned him better into the person he needed to be to take advantage of the freak athleticism scouts had been raving over since before his Notre Dame Prep days.
Shortly after being selected by the Miami Heat with the number two overall pick, Michael was in the headlines for reasons Heat President Pat Riley was probably cringing over. At the rookie transition camp, made available to rookies making the leap into the NBA, police were called to a hotel room that originally smelled of fire. Inside, there was suspicion that there had been people smoking marijuana in the hotel room. When the police got to the scene, only Darrel Arthur and Heat teammate Mario Chalmers were present, but no charges were eventually filed. However, both rookies were dismissed from the rookie transition program for the NBA’s suspicions. Pat Riley had caught word that Michael had been present for the occasion and made him admit to slipping out the back door as cops had arrived. Beasley was fined $50,000 by the commissioner for his role in the incident, and Michael admitted to his mistakes.
But his mistakes didn’t end there like the Miami Heat had wanted, as you can imagine. In August 2009, Michael posted a picture with his new tattoo he had just got to his Twitter account. Stupid enough, he didn’t notice in the background of the image there was a bag of marijuana visible to all of his followers that clicked on the image put up. A few days later, Michael checked into a rehab center for “undisclosed reasons”.
Beasley was shipped off to Minnesota for two future second-round picks during the famous Summer of 2010 to make room for the 3-star empire Pat Riley had created with Lebron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.
Beasley had some pretty lofty expectations upon his arrival to the Twin Cities. But what else is new. With Kevin Love in town, Beasley transitioned into a small forward, as in the past he had been primarily a power forward. In his two seasons in Minnesota, Michael failed to impress as he showed signs of greatness like when he went off for 42 points and 9 rebounds on November 10th, 2010, but for the majority of the time, showed signs of weakness and a lack of effort as well as heart.
In June 2011, Beasley was pulled over for speeding. While searching Beasley’s car due to the suspicion of marijuana in the former star’s vehicle, the police officer found a bag of marijuana under the passenger seat. Beasley was fined and ticketed.
Later on that Summer, Michael took part in a street ball game in New York City with former childhood friend Kevin Durant. Getting heckled the entire game, Michael was unable to control himself as he later got into a confrontation with the heckler in the stands, putting his hand on the guy’s face pushing him.
After the 2011-12 season, the Timberwolves decided not to extend him and let him walk. He signed a 3-year deal with the Phoenix Suns for $18,000,000. In his first year in Phoenix, he failed to impress anyone. Averaging just above ten points per game hardly justified his $6,000,000 annual salary, especially with his package.
In his first full offseason it appeared that Michael would finally turn things around for the better. This was his second full season in Phoenix and he had run out of excuses to not perform at a high level. Though the season hasn’t even started yet (yes, we’re still a couple months away) Michael Beasley hasn’t exactly gotten it off to the right start:
Michael Beasley has been arrested after police found suspected marijuana in his car(ESPN).
— Eli J. Friedman (@Eli_NBAOKC) August 6, 2013
Yup, he’s done it again. I feel bad for the guy sometimes because I know there was so much potential there that he just didn’t know how to use. Whether it was immaturity he wasn’t able to work out during his brief college tenure, or his instability with where he was living in high school, Michael has had to deal with some of his issues internally at the wrong times. But while I feel bad for this guy, I think, there were many other stories like this, with a far worse background that worked hard to use their talents and hard work to form something special. B-Easy had all the intangibles and gifts needed to be a star in today’s NBA, and don’t get me wrong, he still does. But, and this is a major but, unless he is able to get passed his marijuana abuse and stay out of the news for anything but good reasons, Michael Beasley, the once prized prospect, then project, and now bust is going to continue down the path to unemployment.
Article by: Ryan Manley