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Doc Rivers: Michael Beasley could lead the league in scoring

Jan 4, 2011, 2:22 PM EDT

Minnesota Timberwolves v Boston Celtics Getty Images

Michael Beasley has got the ball in his hands in Minnesota, creating his own shots and being the go-to guy. And thriving in that role.

With one shot to tie the Boston Celtics Monday and send the game into overtime, the Timberwolves called Beasley’s number. Everyone in the building knew that’s what was going to happen, despite that he got a pretty good look but it just didn’t fall.

Doc Rivers came away impressed (Beasley had 19 points in 23 minutes, time limited due to foul trouble against Boston), as he told the Star Tribune.

“Offensively, I’ve been a big believer in him,” Rivers said before his Celtics beat the Timberwolves 96-93 on Monday night. “I just think he can score. I said it two years ago: I think one day he may lead the league in scoring. He just knows how to score the ball. He has a Carmelo ability to score the ball.”

“He’s a matchup problem every night,” Rivers said. “He’s tough for 3s [small forwards] to guard because of his size. He’s too quick for 4s [power forwards]. And he can shoot. Obviously that’s the key. He has quickness and a shot at that size. That makes him tough to guard.”

It’s Beasley’s jump shot that has really elevated his efficiency this year — he is hitting 43.9 percent from three, up from 27.5 percent last season (via Hoopdata). He also is shooting 44 percent on long twos (16 feet and longer) up from 39 percent last season. He has a shot you have to respect from anywhere on the floor right now.

He’ll have to become a lot more efficient to really lead the league in scoring (Dirk Nowitzki is hitting 53 percent on long two pointers, and Beasley is not as dangerous closer in as Kevin Durant). But you can start to see what was buried in Miami, the reason this guy was taken No. 2 overall.

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