After a disappointing first two months in the NBA, particularly given the great production from this year’s rookie class, not to mention the big impact that rookie point guard Mario Chalmers has had on the Miami Heat, Michael Beasley looks like he’s starting to find his comfort zone in the Association.
As the #2 overall pick in the draft and the summer league’s leading scorer, Beasley began receiving considerable minutes from the beginning of the season, averaging 33.4 minutes in his first ten games, and despite averaging more than 16 points, often looked lost on defense and unable to hit the glass as consistently as he had at Kansas State, where he averaged 12.4 rpg and set the NCAA freshman record for double-doubles with 28. Beasley’s offense-only approach to the game, combined with the statement that he’d never consistently played man-to-man defense before (seriously?), led Heat coach Erik Spoelstra to cut back his minutes, as he saw just an average of just 20 minutes on the floor over his next 20 games (through January 2), scoring just 11 points per game and grabbing as many as eight rebounds just once in that stretch.
As small sample though it might be, in his last five games, with 3 on the road (including the Lakers), Michael Beasley has improved not only his scoring (18 ppg), but has been more aggressive on the boards (7.6 rpg), racking up his first two double-doubles as a pro (vs. San Antonio and @ Sacramento) and while he still has a ways to go, has been more active on the defensive end.
Beasley’s looked particularly impressive in the Heat’s past two games, both on the road (vs.
Looking back at
I may be way off base here, but it really looked as though Beasley was enjoying one of his first “Hey, I really belong here!” moments, in a close game, on the road. That it was a relatively meaningless January game against a sub-.500 team is not relevant. Going forward, once Beasley’s evolved into an outstanding NBA player, it will be the moments like this, when he began to overcome his growing pains, that will have laid the foundation.