When Michael Beasley was traded, I knew it wouldn't be long before Heat fans would be reminded of what they had lost. In saying that, I mean that ‘Super Cool Beas' was bound to have people up in Minnesota ooh-ing and aah-ing once he took the court.
There is no denying how talented Beasley is and truth be told, I'm happy that he was traded to a Western Conference team that we only have to play twice a year. Unfortunately for Beasley and his new fans up in Minneapolis, the kid is already going to be on the defensive before playing a second of basketball.
For some reason...Timberwolves team president David Kahn made some very public and what should be very personal comments about Beasley and the conditions in which he was brought to Minnesota during an interview on KSTP, Minneapolis' ESPN affiliate. You can hear the full clip by clicking here, but this is the main part:
"He's a very young and immature kid who smoked too much marijuana and has told me that he's not smoking anymore, and I told him that I would trust him as long as that was the case."
Kahn was fined $50,000 for the weed comments due to the NBA having strict laws on confidentiality involving substance abuse, but what the hell was he thinking? I have to assume that this team did some research on Beasley and knew what kind of person he was...hell, by making the comments he made, Kahn is basically saying that he knows exactly what there is to know about Super Cool.
So why would he go out and publicly announce that his newest player, a 21-year old kid who is moving to his 2nd new city in the last 3 years, has had a problem with smoking pot? Sure, the claim he makes is emphasizing that Beasley is clean now...but still.
While this was obviously an issue while he was playing for the Heat, did you ever hear anything from the team about a specific problem that Beasley had? Even last year when he went to an ‘in-patient treatment facility', the Heat family just supported him and patiently waited for him to get right without ever going public with Beasley's private matters.
Those of you that have been reading this blog for a while know that I was never high on Beasley (no pun intended). After seeing what he was like in person, how he spoke to others and carried himself, as well as how he was when speaking to the press, it became very clear to me from early in his career that Beasley wasn't the brightest crayon in the box.
I was hoping that for his case, when he arrived in Minnesota they would give him some free range offensively instead of hitting him with specific assignments and asking him to produce when he isn't the primary offensive threat, which was the case in Miami.
What worries me for Beasley is that now he'll be known as a pot smoker to his new fans in Minnesota, who don't really know anything else about him. He should be thought of as a very recent 2nd overall pick who has a major upside and produced quite well during his first two years in the league, averaging 14.3 points and 5.9 rebounds.
Instead, now Beasley could end up walking around his new town with the same dark cloud above his head as when he was in Miami, never living up to expectations and always fighting an uphill battle. I really hope that isn't the case for Super Cool up in Minnesota, but his new team's president has started things off in a very inauspicious way.
Thankfully this is taking place in July, where it should get attention for a few days and then be an afterthought. If this story had come out during the season, when there is NBA coverage on multiple channels for several hours every day, then I feel like the negative impact on Beasley would have caused a ripple effect that would hinder his play and even his interaction with the public.
That is why I am hoping that this goes away quickly. I don't think Michael Beasley is strong enough mentally to pull himself through a situation in which a new team and a new city are both criticizing him and watching his every move through a microscope. There is no Dwyane Wade or Pat Riley up there to deflect the attention and back the kid up. Nobody in Minnesota has the pull or gets the respect like either of those two guys.
As I wrap this up, I'm sitting here kinda laughing at myself while thinking about how my following of Beasley has evolved. I was happy when we drafted him and very hopeful that he would improve and mature after his rookie season. Unfortunately, neither really happened and instead I began to resent how ‘dumb' he came across most of the time.
I never could see him succeeding in Miami because Beasley has always played his own game, and with the Heat he was part of a system that A- he never really seemed to grasp, and B- didn't allow him the free range on offense that he used to become the 2nd overall draft pick. But once it started to become a reality that Beasley was heading out of town, I felt like I did a complete 180 on him.
For whatever reason, suddenly I really wanted him to do well and end up in a good ‘Beasley' situation. Maybe it was because I hadn't spoken to him or seen him on the court for a few months. Regardless, when I saw he was traded to Minnesota I thought it was a great place for him to go.
Nobody pays a ton of attention to the Timberwolves right now, and assuming they give Super Cool some freedom with the ball then he could really break out up there. For Beasley's sake, I hope they don't do what the Heat did by forcing him into playing a specific way depending on who he was on the floor with. He might prove me wrong at some point, but for now I cant see Beasley being successful if he isn't given the freedom to do his own thing.
I really hope things work out for him in Minnesota and that all the concerns that I have about him turn out to be nothing but youth and inexperience. Michael Beasley is a kid that is a very talented basketball player, but he'll have to grow into a man before that talent can make him an NBA superstar.
The talent and ability are certainly there...I just hope that the rest of the necessary tools develop so that Super Cool can live up to the expectations that come with being a former 2nd overall pick.