Would be nice if Beasley saga turns happy

By Jeff Caplan, NBA.com

(Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

Michael Beasley hopes to find a place where he can continue his career. (Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — The Heat have seen enough, again. The Lakers granted him a pair of workouts without apparently feeling the need to draw up any paperwork, at least not yet. Now, less than two weeks until training camps open, the San Antonio Spurs, of all teams, will reportedly kick the tires on Michael Beasley.

This is not an over-the-hill vet looking to make it one more season. This is not a medical redshirt who sadly can no longer get up and down. This is a 25-year-old gifted talent who should be enjoying the prime of his professional career. Unfortunately, immaturity derailed it long ago. The former No. 2 overall pick is just trying to stay in the game.

Beasley’s return to Miami last season seemed to be the best landing spot for him, where he could work out of the limelight to build himself up and be mentored by hard-working championship players and coaches. It obviously didn’t go as hoped. Beasley earned early playing time, showed some promise — actually shot it pretty well — but mostly found himself riding the pine. He was an afterthought throughout the playoffs until a desperate Erik Spoelstra down 3-1 to the mighty Spurs reached for Beasley in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

During the Finals I asked Chris Bosh what he made of Beasley’s approach throughout the season and why he thought Beasley wasn’t able to carve out a niche. His answer was disappointing in that it suggested Beasley didn’t put forth, or didn’t understand how to put forth, a full effort to earn those minutes.

“I’ve always been on Beas as far as being a two-way player,” Bosh said. “He needs to play defense and offense. It’s something you’re really not taught early on in your career. But I think for him, just with his athleticism and strength, he can be a phenomenal two-way player. He’s grown quite a bit and he can use all these lessons he’s gathering to really help him in the future.”

Hopefully the 6-foot-9, 235-pound power forward has a future in the league. I don’t hold any real affinity for the player, but I’m continually pulled in by his story of hardship, missteps and a perceived — mine, anyway —  ambivalence toward changing his behavior.

He’s had multiple run-ins with the law for marijuana possession, various driving violations (which one stop included possession of a loaded gun) and in May 2013, toward the end of his one tumultuous season with the Phoenix Suns, police investigated an alleged sexual assault. With the Suns, ambivalence so defined his effort on the floor that he was flat-out benched.

Yet even when I spoke to Beasley at the start of the Finals, it was difficult to determine if he fully grasped how close his career was, and is, to plunging off the cliff into basketball oblivion. He did talk about how much he had learned during the season about work ethic, maturity and mental approach on the court and how to live a better life off it from veteran teammates like James and Bosh and Rashard Lewis, and from coaches who worked closely with him like Juwan Howard.

“You have to be men, we’re all men, we’re family men, we have kids and wives and we try to be responsible citizens off the court,” Bosh said. “I think that example, because of who we are, he listens to us and really takes in what we have to say.”

So much cringe-worthy behavior within the sports world has bombarded us in recent months and days that a feel-good story, a story of redemption would be welcomed. The question isn’t whether Beasley has the talent to stick in this league, but rather if he possesses the initiative. He wasn’t mature enough to handle a leading role in Minnesota or Phoenix. He couldn’t carve out a niche as a role player with the Heat.

It takes a lot for a talented, young athlete to exhaust all opportunity. Yet Beasley has reached that point. We’ll see if the Spurs or any other team gives him one more shot, and maybe, just maybe it turns out to be the last one he’ll ever need.

“I think for him to see how a locker room is supposed to be, how winning basketball is supposed to be, I think that’s helped him as far as his mental is concerned to really know how to approach the game,” Bosh said back in June. “I think he’s really come a long way since he’s been here.”

When I left him in San Antonio, Beasley said he believed he matured in his lone season back with the Heat, and that he was certain he would be on an NBA roster this season.

“Definitely,” Beasley said. “There’s still some immaturity about me, but that’s what keeps it light. I’m a goofy, fun-loving guy, I like to think so myself anyway. But you’re definitely going to see a different me.”

It’s still up to Beasley to make believers. It would be nice to believe.

38 Comments

  1. alan Hollway says:

    when talking about Beasley and why the Spurs could give him a go you firstly have to understand the Spurs and what they need and are looking for. San Antonio have been after a good shooting power forward for years. the spurs are not a charity case they will only consider somebody if they have have a demonstrated need. The Richard Jefferson experiment whilst a failure showed what Pop has really wanted since the retirement of Michal Finley and their needs have not changed. They want To extend Duncans career as a genuine centre and surround him with a coupke of genuine power forwards one with solid “d” aka Khwai Keonard and another with potent offensive skills much like Chris Bosh. Michael Beasley is still young and if he survives boot camp, the Spus can turn him around because they have a need for him in their roster as a pf, but right now Michael Beasley is closer to being a washed up potential who missed his mark rather than a Chris Bosh look alike. But if anyone can do it, Pop is the man.

  2. David says:

    I told my brother before the start of last years season that Michael Beasley might be a Spur. He told me that I didn’t know what I was talking about. One thing is certain, if Popovich works you out then you still have quite a bit of potential left. I’m praying for Michael as I would anyone who is looking for a second chance or fresh start. With the Spurs help he could be an excellent scorer on our lineup. Go Spurs Go!

  3. Unkle Daddy says:

    This is the problem with the NBA today, every year somebody picks this guy up on his potential. He doesn’t have to work he gets a free ride every year, because somebody says he has potential, how many reasons do you get for potential. When he was drafted I said this guy is a waste at #2 and I was right. Let him set out of the NBA for a season or two.

  4. Bartholomew says:

    I hope Beasley can make it.

  5. Calpin says:

    LBJ – If Beasley wants to win a ring, he will have to come and play with the King Lebron in Cleveland. Oh wait, he already did that with him in Miami. Oh drat. What the heck is he gonna do now? Guess hes gonna have to call MJ out of retirement to help him win a ring.

  6. Sandeman says:

    It’s so frustrating to hear about his various issues after watching what he can do on the court. He really has the ability to be a beast in the league. I wish him the best.

  7. dmh says:

    If Beasley were to stick anywhere, he needs a no-nonsense coach that will get his attention. Spoelstra in spite of being a 2x championship coach was not able to get Beasley’s attention. There are only 3 coaches in the league right now that have a chance of actually getting Beasley’s attention Doc with the clippers, Thibs with the bulls, or the spurs’ Pop. So the spurs are working the guy out…. It means nothing right now until a real contract is signed.

    Until further notice Beasley is a talent wasted. It is a shame… I think Beasley will have to eat d-league humble pie first before he gains the maturity to stick…… if he ever does……….

  8. James says:

    I Like Big B, and I think POPs could get that brother to play like God designed him to play. To be honest B is just too immature and kiddish to be a winner in the NBA. LeBron is a Man and guys like Bosh they are all men. But B is still a boy, just over 11 years old with a hell of talent. He needed parents and he did not have them. That’s just too bad!!!! Love the brother and wish him well, one of the best offensive guys in the league, but People character is everything!!!!!!!

  9. John Wilson says:

    Pop can probably take Beasley and turn him into a significant force coming of the bench. As a long time Spurs fan give him a try if you can’t get the kid from Atlanta or resign Baynes.

  10. Scisca says:

    I’d love to see him in Chicago. Thibs would give him hell, but if he can’t teach him how to work and play two-way, nobody can.

  11. timothy2123 says:

    I think the spurs should sign him.

  12. Mike says:

    Can’t understand what the Spuirs would see in this guy. I fear another Richard Jefferson situation. However, Beasley has some hard lessons to learn and Popovich is the perfect teacher to implement those lessons. I’ve also learned to never ever question or doubt the San Antonio Spurs.

  13. dustydreamnz says:

    If any team can turn him around, it’s the Spurs. As frustrating as he is, there will always be guys like him.

  14. H-Town_7 says:

    Beasley hasn’t had the best career and it’s sad to see so much potential just thrown away like that, but I still believe in Beasley and I think the spurs acquiring him would the perfect situation for him to get back on track.

  15. KoolESP says:

    Someone actually said that Beasley is a better player than Kawhi Leonard. If you sincerely think that, then you don’t know ANYTHING about basketball. Mind body and soul needs to work together in order to be a consistent winner and Beasley has as of yet NEVER lived up to that. I’m actually very surprised that the Spurs have even picked him up for workouts. People like Beasley and Bynum are poison to a team.

  16. luki1983 says:

    Might sound odd, conisdering rookie coach but Phil Jackson has history of keeping Rodman head in the game for multiple seasons and champonship.

    Sub for Carmelo and Amare seams like a decent enough idea… But can Derek Fisher handle it properly?

    • ko0kiE says:

      the difference is.. Rodman was already an established player, defensive force and an champion when he joined Phil Jackson and the Bulls.

  17. Troyerz says:

    I’m just a kid whose 4, each day I grow some more, I like exploring I’m Beasley… that’s me!!

    Not many have noticed, but Bees has taken the NBA for one big party up to this point. And now that the well is running dry on both sides of things for him (and he has realized that he will be missing the water a bit more than he thought) Beasley is sounding a comeback.

    I’m glad he has gotten to this point, IF this is what will make him turn everything around. I don’t blame Miami for letting him loose either – in business, you hardly get 2nd chances, and when people do not make the best of their 2nd chances then…

    Of course, if anyone can bring the best out of Bees it’s Pops for sure. But I agree with ‘TheKush’ on this one: I think the D-League would do a better job of that at this stage.

  18. Hey Daniel I am a Heat fan and I hate to tell you this I agree with the Kush on he went little bit hard on Beasley but he is 100% right about Beasley being a liability on the court . His lack of defense and immaturity kills his team with foul trouble and turnovers.

  19. JC says:

    Flip Flop , The players have to be serous person , the Sport is some thing to care about it , Him in this moment doesn’t care , he got opportunity with the Heat but he didn’t make a good response , in the season beginning (2013- 2014) he play good , later he was soft , I think here are two thing one is : not hard to try and the other is Lebron and couches Team , I don,’t think that he belong to the Lebron team the last season , but there is a lot of thing that we don’t know about the owner , president and couches of miami heat , there is always mystery and decisions not very clear .
    JC

  20. D Real says:

    Beasley better than Leonard. You are smokin crack. Leonard plays both sides of the ball and improves every year. Beasley is a poor mans Lamar Odom, full of potential that will probably never be fully developed. Putting someone with his history in the starting lineup in LA is trying to get him killed. He needs to ride the bench of a team that can teach him on and off the court and go thru the process of earning a starting spot. Not just giving him one based on his potential. You know what place has more potential then anywhere else on earth….THE GRAVE…thats because most people die never reaching their true potential. If he goes thru the process….only then can this young guy have a shot. Spurs would be a great fit for him. If he goes to start in LA he might as well change his name to Smush Parker. And that comment about saying all he needs is Rodman’s defense and he will be at the top is ridiculous. That’s like saying all I need is Bill gates money and I’ll be satisfied. A one armed grandma would be at the top if she had Rodmans defense. Come on Man!!!

  21. Mike says:

    BEASLEY has talent and can score. Heat for sure should have kept him because in my opinion he can produce numbers. If spurs get Beasley and his matures even a little. Diaw and ginobili can save their legs for when it counts. and Spurs to the finals again.

  22. squala96 says:

    I don’t Beasley to be in the Spurs. He will have to go behind Leonard. He is still starter quality and with the right training and discipline, is actually the better player.

    He should join the Lakers as they have substantially downgraded the SF spot after Metta and Matt Barnes left. The Pacers are also a good option with George’s long-term injury and Lance’s odd decision to join Charlotte.

  23. Heat_fan says:

    I do sgree with you Daniel. In my opinion, the Heat should give this guy a chance, because I still do believe he can grow as basketball player. Time will tell…

  24. Ian says:

    The Miami Heat will regret Beasleys departure. One day he will be a superstar and it will bite the Heat in the butt

  25. harriethehawk says:

    I hope he gets picked up by the Spurs. Pops structure could be just what he needs. Best wishes.

  26. TEG says:

    in my opinion, I doubt Beasley would end up taking the final spot. however, if he truly hopes to turn his act around, maybe joining the Spurs could be that chance. (maybe)

  27. ShawnKemp says:

    Never tried or cared.

  28. spurs fan says:

    If anyone can bring out Beasley’s true potential, it’s Pop.

  29. flip says:

    This is a great opportunity for Beasley, he’s always had great talent and an extremely high ceiling. and i believe that Pop can turn this guy around and make him the superstar most people thought he would be

  30. TheAll-Star136 says:

    Watch him mature. Popovich would turn around his career.

  31. TheKush says:

    When I think of Beasley I’m reminded of Iverson but the thing people forget about Iverson is that like Rodman regardless of what was going on off the court it never affected his game on the court in fact Iverson was so good that referees were screwing Iverson out of free throws referees actually conspired against A.I and he was still a dominant player at 6 ft. say what you want about A.I off the court but he took his job seriously on the court.

    Beasley I’ll be honest he makes me sick I think he belongs in D league at best never to return to the NBA ever again, and I hope when he gets to the D-League the hungry players in the D-League give him HELL throwing the ball to whomever he’s guarding when he gets playing time.

    Life is short, forget the money playing in the NBA is a dream for kids growing up I watch people play basketball every day and still not make the NBA and here comes Beasley built like LEBRON JAMES, ambidextrous, and athletic and he just throws it all away! WTF???

    Useless I hope he didn’t squander whatever money he made in the league because he’s someone any real NBA fan would rather forget about. We talk about how bad Kwame Brown turned out but I think Beasley is poster boy for what people who aspire to get to the league should never become. Any team that signs Beasley can’t win a championship I said it last year and I’ll say it again.

    Look at guys like Rose, Irving, Kevin Durant, Demar Derozan these guys work on their game constantly they get criticized not because they don’t bring it every game but because as good as they are people want and expect more that’s what competition and love of the games all about Beasley is 25+ years old and you’re telling me he still can’t play defense?

    It’s not even like he’s a big time scorer if someone is scoring a lot of points like James Harden for instance it’s partially understandable why they’d take a play or two off of playing defense but Beasley is a LIABILITY on the floor if he’s not scoring THROW HIM TO THE D-LEAGUE I’d love to see what those young studs do to him!

    • Daniel says:

      Wow! What hatred. Did Beasley do something to your loved ones? How can you berate that man like that? I guarantee you that he can play better than you and any of your friends. He is in the NBA. Scrubs don’t even get the chance. He can learn to play “D”, and you don’t dictate the timeframe. You can’t learn that quickness or that body. His skills and his maturity are not in sync yet, but he is still a young man. Go take a drink and calm down.

    • angel says:

      First don’t compare him with LeBron or all the other players he is a scoring machine if he get the minutes need some more of Denise Rodman defense and will be in the top of the best hope San Antonio give him a chance so he could kill them from the 20 to 25 feet lets go Beasley,,,,,,,,

      • lonnie says:

        I agree don’t compare him to LeBron cause they did that wit marvin williams an he has never averaged over 15 a game. its a couple good teams I think he would fill a void first the spurs or hawks just cause of the system anwill get good minutes wit hawks at PF or SF, heat of course he was there best post player an road the bench all season, the rockets which would be a upgrade at there PF position and depth from losing parsons at SF if he comes off the bench, the hornets could use him as an sixth man role off the back an a decent spot shooter would be good wit Jefferson. but all in all he is still young 25 can score from the post or from the 3 point line and plays multiple positions someone give the kid a chance…