The Timberwolves recent decision to not offer SF Michael Beasley a one-year qualifying offer worth an inflated $8 million ultimately marked the end of the former number 2 overall draft picks up-and-down tenure in Minnesota. The 23-year-old was previously sent to Minnesota from the Miami Heat in exchange for two second round picks, and his acquisition appeared a steal at first glance. Over the course of his first full season playing for the Timberwolves, Super Cool Beas impressed his new fans by averaging a career-high 19.2 PPG while seeing a lot of time playing at his less familiar position of SF. The 6’10”, 235 Beasley drastically improved his three-point shooting and emerged as one of the most versatile scorers in the league. Despite his breakout season, the Wolves finished the 2010-11 season with the worst record in the NBA, and the former Kansas State star continued to experience difficulty in finding a definite role with Minnesota due to extremely unique and non-defined skill set.
This past season, Beasley experienced a big drop off in production, as he began the season as starter at 3, with injuries and poor play forcing him into a 6-man role, where he experienced very spotty minutes and inconsistent production. While Beas put up a few brilliant performances this past season, most notably on the road against the Clippers and Suns, he was ultimately not able to provide consistent energy and production while being careless and seemingly inattentive on the defensive end. While Beasley remains one of the most gifted athletes in the NBA and may even have more natural talent than that of superstar Kevin Love, his lack of concentration, questions concerning his work ethic, and inability to shown legitimate improvement over his 4-year career have come to define him thus far in his career.
This past week, Phoenix inked the former Timberwolf to a 3-year deal worth $18 million, officially ending Beasley’s time as a Pup. While I believe it was the right move to allow Beasley to walk and to use the remaining, precious cap space in other capacities, I will always have a soft spot for Beasley and his enigmatic talent. Dwyane Wade says it best as he continually reiterates that Beasley is as talented as anyone in the NBA and could become a superstar if he truly sets his mind on becoming the best player he can possibly be. For now, Beas is an immature, confused young man who probably has to resolve a few things in his personal life before he can take the next step in his development as a player. Will he always be a player who looks brilliant one night, scoring at will against virtually any defender, while playing selfishly while making countless mental errors the next? He will undoubtedly find plenty of opportunities in Phoenix to continue to polish his game, as the Suns face a general lack of perimeter scoring options. With the departures of Steve Nash and Grant Hill, Phoenix is transitioning into rebuild mode and will look to give Beasley the same opportunity to be a valuable role on a rebuilding team that Minnesota gave him nearly 2 years ago.
So long Beas, I am saddened that you will not be a part of the Timberwolves future and I will forever remember you for your game-winning jumper against the Clippers. Consider growing out the ponytail dreads again, you did average nearly 35 PPG with them during the 2010-11 season.