January 04, 2011
This season has been something of a breakout campaign for Michael Beasley(notes), who came to the Timberwolves last summer after failing to become a second star for Dwyane Wade(notes) with the Heat. Miami had trouble giving him away for much more than a couple insignificant draft picks last summer just two years after drafting him with the second-overall pick. He was, to put it mildly, not thought of very well by most NBA observers despite having a tremendous amount of talent.
In Minnesota, Beasley has excelled at scoring, averaging 21.8 ppg and 47.8 percent shooting to fulfill part of the promise that made him such an intriguing prospect as a high-schooler and freshman at Kansas State.
But some think Beasley has a wealth of untapped talent, including Celtics coach Doc Rivers. From 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."
Beasley scored 19 points, playing only 23 minutes because of foul trouble.
"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."
Beasley isn't there yet -- he's currently 6.1 points shy of friend Kevin Durant's(notes) league-leading average. But even though Beasley is only in his first season as a top scorer, Rivers isn't speaking with too much hyperbole here. Coming out college, Beasley was expected to be a top scorer in the league for a long time. While he didn't follow through on that promise in his first two seasons, it wasn't for lack of talent.
With the Wolves, Beasley has become an offensive focal point and responded with strong numbers. Turning 22 years old this Sunday, he has plenty of time to grow as a player and add moves to his repertoire. It won't be an easy road, but the opportunity is there. Though he was labeled a bust less than a year ago, Beasley may just be getting started.