Second chances

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raffy

RAFFY LEDESMA

More than three years since they traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Miami Heat recently announced the resigning of troubled forward Michael Beasley to a one-year, non-guaranteed contract. Last week, the Phoenix Suns waived him after he was arrested in Arizona for possession—the latest in a long string of marijuana-related charges that has dogged his entire career.

There were high hopes for Beasley when he entered the league back in 2008. During his first and only year in college, Beasley was named Player of the Year by several media organizations and selected first team All-American by numerous outlets. In 33 college games with Kansas State, he averaged 26 points, 12 rebounds, and a combined 3 steals/blocks.

It was no surprise when the Miami Heat picked Beasley as No. 2 overall after Chicago grabbed No. 1 pick Derrick Rose. Beasley was picked before Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love who have developed as bonafide superstars for their respective teams. Such was the potential for Beasley.

But even before he played an NBA game, Beasley was already in trouble. In the 2008 NBA Rookie Transition Program, he and two other rookies were fined by the league after a fire alarm sounded in the hotel room they were staying in. Responding police officers said that the room reeked of marijuana. Less than a year later, he admitted himself to a rehab center in Houston.


After two seasons in Miami, the team finally let Beasley go as it started clearing cap space for a long-term contract with Dwyane Wade, plus the subsequent signing of LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

In the 2010 season in Minnesota, Beasley broke out and pulled together his best season in the NBA as he led the team by averaging 19.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. The next season, however, he was beset by injuries that forced him to miss a big part of 2011.

With the Phoenix Suns last season, his numbers continued to dip and he was given limited minutes as he started coming off the bench. With two years left in his Phoenix contract, the team waived him, paying him $7 million in the process. In a statement, the Suns said: “We worked hard to devote ourselves to Michael’s success, but we have to maintain the standards to build a championship culture.”

With a non-guaranteed contract worth $1 million, the Heat are more than willing to gamble on Beasley. After all, the Heat have a very strong championship culture with 3 superstars and Heat President Pat Riley won’t tolerate shenanigans. I don’t see Beasley upsetting team chemistry and they can easily cut him if and when he starts smoking weed again.

If Beasley can control his off-court issues, he can be a valuable addition to the Heat bench that already includes Chris Andersen, future Hall-of-Famer Ray Allen, rehabilitating center Greg Oden, and Shane Battier.

At his best, Beasley can be productive since he has a skill-set that makes it easy for him to score. At 6-8, he is a defensive nightmare since he can play multiple positions, giving the Heat more flexibility. The only thing he needs to improve on is his shot selection and defense.

Getting Beasley is a good move for the Heat and will make the two-time defending champions harder to beat.

raffyrledesma@yahoo.com

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