NBA Sunday: Michael Beasley Still Maturing
Lockout a Blessing in Disguise for Beasley
When it became clear that the Chicago Bulls would be selecting Derrick Rose with their first overall pick in 2008 instead of Michael Beasley, the consensus was that Miami was going to be fine, that either player taken in the top two would transform a franchise.
Well, the consensus was right about D-Rose, but the reviews on Beasley in the three full seasons since that draft have been a little muddier.
Still, his trade to the Minnesota Timberwolves a year ago rejuvenated his career, and now he finds himself an integral part of a burgeoning young team. The problem, however, is that Beasley continues to find himself in trouble. Over the summer he was pulled over with 16 grams of marijuana in his car, and there was also controversy over his having shoved a fan in the face during a summer exhibition.
Can a kid like this ever transform into an All-Star, the leader of a franchise?
“Well, I’m a young man, I’m 22 years old, I’m still growing, I’m still learning from every mistake I made,” Beasley told Hoopshype’s Raul Barrigon. “Like I said, I’m a young man, I’m just like every other young man, learning from his mistakes.”
He added, “As far as being an All-Star, everybody would love to be one, but as far as me I just want to win first. The more wins we have, the more All-Star recognition I get. So I’m going to do everything I have to do for the team in order for us to get better.”
Presumably, that starts with staying out of trouble, but that’s something he continues to reiterate he’s trying to do. Beyond that, it’s just training hard, scoring the ball when he gets on the court, and helping guys like Kevin Love and new head coach Rick Adelman return the team to prominence.
“Me and Kevin, we’re best friends. We hang out every day, when we’re not in town we text each other,” Beasley said. “He’s actually one of the funniest guys I know… I think we all are a little bit eccentric. I’m me in my own way, and he’s him. Like I said, we mesh.”
As for Coach Adelman, Beasley sounds like he believes strongly in what the new general brings to the battlefield.
“From what I know about him, he’s a players’ coach. He’s a hard worker and he’s really enthusiastic about his job. Those three ingredients along with the talent that we have, there’s no reason we shouldn’t prevail and get better as the season goes on.”
But before the season can go on, the season has to start, and we can count Beasley in the camp that believes (or rather, hopes) that some sort of season can still be salvaged.
“It’s kind of disappointing that they haven’t reached an agreement yet, but I feel very confident, and I know it in my heart, that both parts will come to a mutual agreement in the near future,” he said.
“First thing is believing, and I really believe that the lockout is going to end very soon. The players… We just want to play basketball. But the ones that are really suffering are the fans, so I really hope and believe that we’re going to come to common grounds pretty soon, just for the fans’ sake.”
Like many players, coaches, executives, media, and even plain ol’ everyday fans that have extra time on their hands with no hoops to watch, Beasley is trying to look on the bright side, even going so far as to call the lockout a “blessing.”
“This lockout, although it’s obviously a burden, has been kind of a blessing in disguise for me because it has given me extra time for being a father,” he said, and it’s hard to argue with that logic. If you’re not going to have the opportunity to play basketball, you might as well make the most of the extra time with your family.
But eventually, we’ve got to get back to work, and Beasley especially has plenty to prove. It’s only a matter of time before he gets to continue to prove it.
Europe for Nowitzki, Too?
If you’re able to shake off dubious starts by the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, it’d be pretty easy to heap on praise for the year Texas sports have been having. Twelve months ago the Rangers made their first ever appearance in the World Series, then in June the Dallas Mavericks won their first ever NBA title, and now the Rangers are back in the Series again, looking to overcome a 1-2 deficit to win a title of their own.
As much guys like Tony Romo and Arian Foster and Michael Young have done for sports in this state, none can be considered more exceptional—at least not in the last twelve months—than Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki.
Sadly, if this lockout doesn’t get resolved quickly, Dirk might not stay in Texas for long.
“If there is no settlement, I’ll go back home any time soon and probably start training with my coach again and really get back in the routine,” he told ESPNDallas.com’s Jeff Caplan. “And then you’ve got to keep your options open, maybe see what’s going on overseas.”
Like over sixty other NBA players have already done, Nowitzki may head to Europe—most likely Germany—to keep himself sharp in the absence of an NBA season. We aren’t to all-out cancellation yet, but as things get uglier, stars like Nowitzki consider other options more seriously.
“If the lockout still stays strong then I’ve definitely got to look into something there in January, February,” he added.
That’s about the time when the full season would have to be cancelled. In 1999, the 50-game season was salvaged in early January, and that’s sort of where experts are guessing things could get resolved this time around, as well. If, of course, they get resolved at all.
The good news regarding Dirk’s comments are that it looks like he’s going to wait until there’s definitely no season to explore other options. But still—the fact that he’s considering it at all shows how far we’ve really come with this thing.
“We were all hoping that with the mediator something was going to happen,” he said. “Just talks broke off, so it’s very unfortunate. We’ll see. Hopefully we can get something going here any time soon, but it doesn’t look good.”
Optimism doesn’t abound for the 2011-2012 season for anybody at this point, and it’s turning away players to other countries and other leagues. So far, the names of players headed overseas have mostly come from the lower and middle classes, but Dirk’s addition would certainly be a notable one.
Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, and he can remain in Texas to do things like throw out the first pitch at Rangers World Series games. That’s the life he seems to want to live at this point, but like everyone else waiting for this lockout to get settled, he’s not necessarily getting what he wants.