Before the 2008 NBA Draft took place many NBA observers projected Kansas State forward Michael Beasley as a star in the making once he started to play in the Association. There was lots of serious discussion as to whether the Chicago Bulls would take him with the number one pick in that draft before the team from the “Windy City” before they chose last season’s NBA MVP point guard Derrick Rose.
Beasley’s future still looked bright as he was taken with the second pick by the Miami Heat and along with guard Derrick Rose who had missed much of the previous campaign due to injury; he was looked at as a big piece of a squad that would bring winning basketball back to South Beach.
Life doesn’t always turn out like we hoped especially when we make rather foolish decisions. Beasley’s career in the Association got off to a rather rocky start as he was caught smoking weed during a rookie orientation program; when Commissioner David Stern got wind of it he was furious and forced the forward to attend the program once again the following year.
His long-term future did not turn out to be in Miami, playing mostly off the bench in his first season and then started 78 games in his second year. He put up good but not great numbers for the Heat, averaging 13.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in his rookie campaign and 14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in his sophomore season. He would be dealt to the Minnesota Timberwolves that summer to make room for Miami signing Free Agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
Although Minnesota had a terrible season last year ending up in last place in the Association, Beasley prospered under coach Kurt Rambis as he had his best season averaging 19.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game as he played in the starting front-court with Kevin Love and center Darko Milicic; both of whom had career seasons as well. The success of the T-Wolves big men would not be enough to save Rambis from unemployment, as the team fired him and replaced him with veteran coach Rick Adelman who had been let go by the Houston Rockets at the end of the campaign last year.
The forward encountered controversy last summer when he was arrested in a suburb of Minneapolis for speeding and possession of more than a half ounce of marijuana. The town’s police department reported that they pulled the T-Wolves forward over for speeding as he was hitting 84 MPH in a 65 MPH zone at 3:00am.
A search of his vehicle by the officers discovered the baggie filled with buds under the driver’s seat, and according to the police report Beasley cursed when an officer pulled it out from under his seat. He told the officers that the bag did not belong to him, but rather it was a friend’s whom he had just dropped off. He was charged with a petty misdemeanor and paid a fine of $128.00 for possession. Because the NBA Lockout was in effect he was not penalized by the Association. The episode however was far from an ideal first impression for his new coach.
Beasley would start the first seven games of the current campaign, however he injured his foot back in January and was sidelined for 11 games. When he returned to action, it was coming off the bench as rookie forward Derrick Williams had supplanted him in the starting lineup. The strides he made last season disappeared as he is averaging just 11.5 points and 4.3 rebounds so far this year. The team has yet to pick up his option for next season; which if they decline to do would make him a restricted Free Agent heading into the summer.
The “Pioneer Press” has reported that the forward expressed his discomfort about the uncertainty of what lies ahead Tuesday night before Minnesota lost to the Memphis Grizzlies. Beasley said “My future is so blurry. I don’t have too much to say about next year. It’s frustrating not knowing your situation next year. So many of my friends are certain where they’re going to play next year. They got contract extensions. But that’s how the ball drops.”
The T-Wolves gave that committment to Love as he was signed to a four-year contract for a reported $62 million, however Love is a two-time All-Star as well as the franchise. Beasley is most likely looked at as a fourth option for the squad after Love, Williams and rookie point guard Ricky Rubio. Minnesota is not going to offer the forward anything close to a comparable deal to the one they signed Love to.
The player now in his fourth year in the Association also made it clear he does not want to settle for being a player who comes off the bench. He told reporters “”I can adapt to any role, but I don’t want to get comfortable in a reserve role. The reserve role is what the coach wanted, but that’s not really my plans for the future. I see myself as a starter. Now I have to prove it.”
Beasley showed what he is capable of last year; whether that happens with the Timberwolves or another franchise in the Association remains to be seen. All he can do at this point is keep working until his chance comes and then take full advantage of it.