Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to be rolling out our profiles of several of the top expected prospects in the 2008 NBA Draft. Figuring that we’re not the only ones who’ve thought of this, we decided to enlist some help by asking several of the best school-specific bloggers in the land to give us the up-close-and-personal profile of the players they’ve spent all year watching. For example, we probably watched Michael Beasley play 10 times this year, but we were limited by his games that were on national television and other competing games at the same time. These bloggers know these players – their strengths, their weaknesses, whether they become Black Mamba or channel C-Webb in the clutch, and what kind of team they would best fit with at the next level.
With that said, our first submission is from the most excellent Kansas State blog, Bring on the Cats. TB over there does a great job keeping up with all things Wildcat (even finding time to throw in timely 90s references to pop culture – mmm… mmm… mmm… mmm…). Here is his post on Michael Beasley.
Although there probably isn’t much you can say about Michael Beasley that hasn’t already been said, I’ll go ahead and try.
For all of you who are fans of either the Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat, I don’t think you can go wrong with drafting B-Easy. I know we as K-State fans consider ourselves fortunate to have seen him play this year. He counts size, agility, rebounding, ball-handling, shooting, and defense among his attributes, and last I checked that’s a pretty solid skill set.
On offense, Beasley is a threat from anywhere on the court, either facing or posting up. He shot nearly 40 percent from three-point range on 95 attempts in 33 games. That included a four-for-four effort in the biggest game of the year, a home win over KU. B-Easy has a lethal turnaround jumper that is just about indefensible unless he has an athletic version of Manute Bol in his face. When he wants to bang in the paint, his solid 240-pound frame gets him position and his soft hands ensure favorable bounces on the rim.
While he is a prolific scorer, as his 26.2 points per game as a true freshman in the Big 12 conference suggests, rebounding is undoubtedly Beasley’s ace card. He led the nation in boards this year with 12.4 per game. Part of that is due to his strength and athleticism, but part of it is just a knack for being in the right place. He has a sense of where a shot is going to miss, and he gets to that spot.
Defensively, B-Easy is a bit overlooked. His numbers weren’t stellar, but he did average more than 1.0 blocks and steals per game. I don’t project him as much of a shot-blocker at the next level, but his nose for the ball and humongous hands at the end of long arms make him a threat to tip a lot of passes.
Of course I’m biased, but Beasley doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses. Probably his biggest weakness, in my perception, is something that is overall a strength. He hates to lose, and sometimes he demonstrates his distaste for losing through frustration with his teammates’ mistakes. Sometimes he probably just needs to let the coaches take care of the mistakes of others, but to me it demonstrates a desire to win. Also, on occasion he has a tendency to get frustrated when things aren’t going his way (bad calls, shots not falling, etc.) and he might jog back on defense. This was not a common occurrence.
Finally, a quick word about a common misperception somebody has perpetuated about Beasley. I’m speaking, of course, about his alleged attitude issues. To put is simply, I don’t see it. I’m sure it all stemmed from this Washington Post article. First of all, what happened in that article is high school stuff. In his one year at K-State, he was universally considered an incredibly pleasant individual. Secondly, his antics are hardly the stuff of a hardened criminal. Frankly, his high school principal should have gotten the stick out of his arse and stowed the signed bumper for future sale on eBay.
I watched Derrick Rose in person at the NCAA championship game. He is a a very good player and will probably have a good NBA career. But I think Beasley is going to be great, and hope to hear him called as the No. 1 pick. No matter who he goes to, I will be the proud owner of that team’s No. 30 jersey.
Coming Next: the always-controversial OJ Mayo