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Thursday, March 12th, 2009 at 3:42 pm  |  74 responses

Riley: Beasley Could “Lead the League in Scoring”

by Ryne Nelson

(Note: Many readers have tried to cure my myopia toward Michael Beasley, but I just never listened. Maybe I didn’t want to. Truth is, I like to untangle the facts for myself, taking much longer to come to the same conclusions as everyone else. Even so, I was in shock as I saw where I was going with this piece. Justin Walsh pointed out the Pat Riley quote that got me thinking about Beasely today, so props to him. As I worked on the day’s Online Editor duties — moving around stories, answering emails, posting videos and photos, etc. — I began to map out a route for this article. You can follow the path I took and discover where I ended up…)

Cries of “Overrated!” began during Michael Beasley’s second summer league game in Orlando, and — justifiably or not — they’ve only gotten louder ever since. Fans, including myself, tried to project the 20-year-old’s future after just a couple games months. To say he’s under performing is one thing. To say that he’s overrated, or even a bust for that matter, is just ignorant.

But is Beasley truly doing all that bad? Dude has played over 30 minutes just five times since November 14, and he’s still fifth among rookies in scoring and sixth in rebounding. Sure, there are some obvious areas where B-Easy still needs to improve, but the Heat are happy with the trajectory on which their forward progressing. Just read what GM Pat Riley told ESPN‘s Jackie MacMullan earlier this week:

“If Beasley averaged 30 minutes a night, he’d score 24 points a game. If he played 40 minutes, he’d lead the league in scoring.”

That’s saying a lot about a player who’s scored over 25 points in just two of 63 games. Then again, it could happen.

Amar’e Stoudemire, as a 20-year-old rookie, started all but nine games in ’03-’04 and had a scoring average that’s nearly identical to Beasley’s, while playing 7 more minutes on average. A 20-year-old Dirk Nowitzki, who started just over half of his lock-out shortened rookie season, went mostly under-the-radar, averaging only 8.2 points and 3.4 rebounds, in 4 minutes less than Beasley. No formula could have predicted that Nowitzki would finish in the top-10 in total points in nine of the following 10 seasons.

It’s the people who are around Beasley everyday who know him best. Dwyane Wade continues to tell his rookie, “I need you” and says Beasley’s the franchise’s future. There’s no doubt the team has full confidence in the No. 2-overall selection.

With the Heat making a Playoff push, Coach Erik Spoelstra is giving his veterans more time. Beasley clearly has that scary thing called potential, but we won’t know just how much until he gets a legit chance to show it. That chance should be coming soon.

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  • warr

    only if he would defend

  • http://yungbolo.blogspot.com YungBolo

    He could because he can be a selfish player/ballhog (please see Rookie vs. Sophomore game)

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Calm down, Eboy. Remember you are at work

  • http://www.hibiahi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    well wtf you think Pat is gonna say? You need to let players know that your are confident in them, especially if you might re=become coach in 2-6 years when they are contenders again

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    LOL @ BETCATS

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    I think Beasley will be okay in this league.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    BET, that was my first thought as well. But when you consider his age and situation, he could definitely become an elite scorer.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com DP

    HE IS JUST A ROOKIE. I just thought everyone would like to know that.

  • http://www.kicksonfire.com Anton

    He could also lead the league in not caring/underachieving.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Ryne is obviously drunk with visions of himself with boybandbeard and stylitic video blogs.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    *stylisitc

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    *stylistic (see, now I’m all pissed off)

  • http://hoops4life.com overtime

    I reckon he be doing xactly what hes supposed to so far

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Also….what Ryne also didn’t put down is in the same statement Riley also said “he probably give up 30, too” so that’s where the kid’s only issue lies….his D and the Heat’s system is predicated on defensive help at all 5 spots…..something all the other top rookies have no issue with…..’cause they all play for sh*t teams.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Eboy, what’s your take the Riley comment? Closer to truth or closer to… Anton?

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com DP

    Give him like 4 years…he will be solid.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Mike Bibby dropped 30+ on Derrick Rose in Chicago this season, and Rose can actually play D. I’m not sure what that proves, but there…

  • http://www.hibiahi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    DJ Augstin will be a better player than lots of you think.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    Um, Rose’s D is shaky at best. I like Westbrook, Mayo and Lopez on the defensive end. All the other rookies are… rookies.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    And for some reason, people are just ganging up on Beasley’s D. Melo still doesn’t play D, LeBron only decided to play D last year. I mean come on, defense can be taught.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Ryne…..I said it two days ago over in the Post Up….I’ll bet that Wade and Beasley will be the best 1-2 punch in the East next season….better than Mo and Lebron and Dwight and Jameer (and what else is there?). Beasley’s game has been efficient in the last month…..regardless of the minutes played. Next year…he’ll get the starting job and make this middle of the road rookie year seem like a distant memory.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    DJ Augstin will be an All-Star, BET.

  • http://www.hibiahi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    he might be more than that Ryne. I am waiting to see what the Point Guard situation will turn out to be after this summer. (since Felton is a restricted FA)

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Eboy, I can see that ‘best 1-2 punch’ happening, if not next season, the season after that. I still think you take any two of the Celtics’ “Big 3,” and you’ll have a better 1-2 combo. Jameer and Mo are nice, but they’re not All-Stars, and shouldn’t have been this season. There’s absolutely no one in the way of Beas next season, so he’ll get the 30+ minutes he’s hoping for.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    I totally saw Mike as a future top-5 scorer. I’ve lowered my expectations for him a bit, but I’m with eboy in that he will be much better next year and, while surely always prone to poor defense, spotty attention span and just an inch or two short to be the superduperstar I once thought possible, a VERY good NBA player for a long time.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    “superduperstar” gave me flashbacks of the 84 Dolphins.

  • Sebastian B. O. Bunionstow, esq.

    Eboy gets a boner just thinkin’ about Beasley.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Beasley’s shot is gorgeous and I have no doubt that he can score. He seems lost out there sometimes, but his coaches say he’s progressing. What I’m wondering is how big he’s going to eventually be. As he is on the short side of 20, will he get taller? How much does he love the gym? Will he put the “15 pounds of muscle” on this summer? If he developed more of an inside game, to go along with that mid range shot he’s got, the Heat would be tough to beat.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    I doubt Beasley will get taller than his current 6-7. Let’s hope he just doesn’t shrink another three inches for goodness sake! ;-)

  • http://www.hibiahi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    if the Heat start C-??? PF-Beasley SF=Moon SG-Wade PG- Chalmbers i might consider watching them when they do not play the Bobcats.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    Beasley has a laissez-faire aura about him. Is it just the way he is or does he not care that much? From what I’ve read, he’s not really a gym rat à la Durant. I’ve lowered my expectations as well, I thought he was a special talent at Kansas St. He’s not special but he’s really, really good. That’s not too shabby. I think that Lopez will be a better player, though.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Lopez and Beasley will be a good two to compare down the line, at least in terms of number of All-Star births. I can see Beas being the better player, but Brook getting more All-Star births because of the death of the center, especially in the East.

  • http://mindyourbusiness@getalife.com Allenp

    Eboy
    Pierce and KG?

  • Fat Lever

    As long as Kevin Durant is in the same league as Beasley, it won’t happen. Durant is a born scorer, and could avg 30-32 ppg in his prime barely breaking a sweat.

  • http://www.hibiahi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    I disagree with the Wade+Beasley duo = the best. Jeff Green+Kevin Durant will be better in 2-4 years from now then anyone else.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Fat’s right. KD will take a handful of scoring titles before it’s all said and done.

  • http://www.Slamonline.com CP34MVP

    ahahaha @ Sebastian. I think Wade & Beaz Will be beasts in 3 years.

  • http://www.ojhoops.blogspot.com the baconator

    If Kobe averaged 40+ minutes every night, he’d lead the league in scoring. It’s not a matter of how much you’d average if your playing time increased, it’s a matter of how much you’re able to contribute in the time you’re given

  • Phil B

    “no way, (insert favourite rookie who is underachieving right now) will be amazing next year. i guarantee it!” that covers everyone, right?

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Pretty sure E said best 1-2 combo in the EAST, still not sure if I agree. My main thing with Beasley is that he looks a little slow footed out there at times, on offense its not a problem because he can score with a guy on his hip, but on D he is really vulnerable to the dreaded “blow-by”. He could definitely stand to get stronger and quicker in the offseason. He can score the rock, nobody is questioning that, but I don’t really see him ever being a better scorer than Durant.

  • http://where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com B. Long

    Jeff Green is possibly the most underrated player in the L right now. Good call, BET.

  • Jimmy C

    Yeah D-League or another 50 game season. His ass should stayed at K-State for couple of tours. So he can learn how to play both sides of the court. Ril’s has lost his damn mind!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Personally, I think that if LeBron got 40+, scoring title would be all over for the next 12 years.

  • http://nbacheapseats.blogspot.com Chendaddy

    Derrick Coleman averaged a 20/10 his third year, and I expect Mike Beasley to do so, too. I’m not holding my breath for his sophomore year, though.

  • http://www.basketballjerseyworld.com NBA-JERSEY-KING

    2 years time Miami’s line-up:

    C: Bosh
    PF: Beasley
    SF: Moon
    SG: Wade
    PG: Chalmers

    not a bad squad in the East….

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    ^I disagree that Bosh is on his way to Miami. Also, if he was going to the Heat, he’s not playing center for them.^

  • http://nba.com tealish

    This was more or less pointless, no offense. Beasley hasn’t shown much and there’s no real way to know what he’ll become but using that limited minutes argument is old. Question, if he could lead the L in scoring in 40min, why not play him 40min? Hmm..

  • Matt

    People got to stop ripping him. That man can score with the best of them. Miamis coaches already made it clear that his minutes would be determined by his defense. Hes already contributing well on a playoff team so just give him time and him and Wace will be dominating.

  • Pistons_Go

    Um…Hell no.

  • http://www.slamonline.comi Jake Appleman

    “5-0, 5-0.”

  • http://itsadcthing.blogspot.com Squad

    Don’t see him as the type of commanding scorer Durant could be…Then again B-Eaz is my dude because he’s from DC. So YEAH 40/GM!!

  • L33tSauce

    I agree Jeff Green is underated, but Durant and Green or Wade and Beasley? no question. Dwayne Wade makes that a no argument. He is the rightful MVP of 2009. End of story. And damn, the kid is 19, and 13 and 5 in 24 minutes isn’t bad. The great KG in his rookie season had 10 and 6 in 29 minutes a game. You can’t judge a guy off one year. He’s rebounding beter than Durant his first year and his FG% and 3PT% are quite a bit better than Durant his rookie year. Give the kid another year or two before you start going Darko on him.

  • rob

    KD >>>>>>>>>Beasy KD wins bigtime!!!!

  • http://nicekicks.com MeloMan13

    Beasley gets NO minutes and has decent rookie numbers. plus hes playing with the MVP who is amazing, but dominates the ball alot. give him a year or two and he’ll be fullfilling the expectations

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    The best 1-2 combo in the east is LeBron James and *insert team mate here*.

  • http://thesportsdiaryonline.blogspot.com Roy

    KD wins in terms of scoring. Beasley won’t be able to keep up with him. However, his scoring average is enough to keep the Heat afloat, so to speak. :D

  • Randy Brown

    Crafty move by Riles. Boost your rookies confidence (not that he needs it) while encouraging him to focus more on D. Timed nicely for the playoffs too

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    Ryne, thanks for mentioning this quote, I thought it deserved some importance.

  • Fred34

    Beaz is sweet and will get to greatness. He’ll be Scottie P to DWade – a great 1-2 combo. Bet.

  • j-arch30

    hes going to be the best player out of his draft..just dont get the mins..they should trade him if they dont play him and watch him explode..

  • http://double-technical.blogspot.com Zee!

    Riiiiight…..

  • The Starks Knight

    He’s way better than Jake Voshkul

  • nbk

    Did Pat Riley also specify how many points Beasley will give up if he plays 40 minutes a night?

  • Tavoris

    Actually Beasley has his problems onthe D side, but he jus appears to be coasting. The game of basketball (offensively) come SO easy for him that it looks like he isn’t playing hard.

    Riley is spot on about Beasley, cuz he’s obviously one of the better pure scorers in the league now.

  • Caleb

    For what its worth, Beasley averages 20 & 8 on a per 36 minute basis.

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    I wonder whether B-Easy’s broken Lamar’s team single-season blunt record yet?

  • nbk

    I doubt it Lamar had Caron to help him twist up

  • ab_40

    he doesn’t understad defense so as long as he doesn’t get that he can just show up and score but he has to stop his man he’ll be in trouble. plus they’re making him into a 4 so let him gain the mandatory 15 pounds next summer so hopefully he can at max be as good as elton brand is on D, cuz you KNOW they’re the same size

  • jay

    i like beasley but no way he ever wins a scoring title..fist off wade is on the team and he gets about 90% of the shots and rightfully so…also once the big three calm down….durant is on the verge of crackin the big three!

  • Nakware Howard

    I think everyone seems to be forgetting that probably after next season… WADE WILL MOST LIKELY BE GONE… so beasley will have time to grow into the dominant player he could be, but wade and beaz wont get to be the best 1-2 punch in the east because of that pierce KG duo I hear their kinda a big deal lol, oh and everybodies right KEVIN DURANT IS A MONSTER!

  • L33tSauce

    Do you follow the NBA? Wade will be gone? With a rising point guard, 6th man, and B-Easy? And with Miami getting a shot at a big time free agent in 2010 with J.O.’s contract expiring?

    Wade remains in Miami. Pay some damn attention.

  • LordKratos08

    I’m pretty sure that Beasley will be the starting PF next year. I think he can even slide to the SF spot. He just turned 20 so he can work on becoming a better defender. A scoring title will be a challenge because he has DWade dominating the ball. But to impress Pat Riley, then you have to be real special.

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