Only two years after Michael Beasley was drafted with the 2nd overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Miami Heat had trouble giving him away. Eventually, the Heat managed to unload Beasley on the Minnesota Timberwolves, but they only got two second-round picks in exchange for the former Kansas State star.
Why has Beasley been such a flop over his first two pro seasons? Is it because he’s a tweener, stuck between the three and the four? Is it because he’s never shown any particular interest in playing defense? Is it because he’s never extended his range to the NBA three-point line or committed himself to being a low-post player?
All of those are possible reasons why Beasley hasn’t lived up to his billing as a top-two pick yet. But for what it’s worth, Beasley’s new general manager thinks that the first step to Beasley’s turnaround has already been taken.
In an interview with ESPN 1500 Twin Cities, David Kahn explained that Beasley’s marijuana habit held him back in the early stage of his career. Beasley never formally admitted to smoking weed, but there was widespread speculation about his drug use after he was caught on film near marijuana not once but twice
before he started his sophomore season. Now Beasley has assured Kahn that he doesn’t smoke anymore, which makes Kahn optimistic about Beasley’s future:
“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 said Thursday during an interview with 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
“He has developed a really good support system around him this past season in Miami. He’s hired people to help him grow up. He is growing up — he’s not grown up. He’s 21 … and he just turned 21 last January, and if you think back, as I do all the time, to when I was 21 and if you had given me this kind of money and put me in this kind of world with these kinds of pressures attached to it and some of the demands, I don’t know (that) I would have handled it any easier than, say, he has.”
Kahn went on to say that Beasley had a “very issue-free” season in Miami, and that he felt that trading Beasley for two second-round draft picks was a risk well worth taking. Beasley’s immaturity certainly didn’t help him over the course of his first two years in the league; if he really has turned a new leaf off the court, perhaps he’ll start to live up to his potential on it.