The Road For Michael Beasley Is Longer Than We Thought

Taylor SmithAnalyst IAugust 25, 2009

We knew Michael Beasley's rookie season in the NBA was a struggle on the basketball floor.

What we didn't know was how much Beasley seemed to struggle off the court, as well.

Yesterday it was reported that the 20-year-old checked himself into a rehab facility in Houston.

This news comes on the heels of an episode over the weekend in which Beasley photographed his new tattoo and put it up on what was apparently his Twitter account.

In the background of the photo was what appeared to be a small plastic baggie, contents unknown.

Given Beasley's past transgressions involving marijuana, a stir was caused when it was speculated that the plastic bag could have contained the drug.

Shortly thereafter, three posts were made from the alleged Beasley Twitter account, including one that said, "Feelin like it's not worth livin!!!!!"

Beasley's account was then deactivated.

There had been speculation that Beasley checked himself into rehab for psychological issues, but ESPN's Chris Broussard says he was told Beasley is going into rehab for drug issues.

This is just the latest episode in a whirlwind of them involving the former Kansas State phenom over the past couple of years.

In his one collegiate season at K-State, Beasley was arguably the most productive player in the nation, averaging about 26 points and 12 rebounds per game.

There were claims that Beasley had a maturity problem, but his "can't-miss" talent was going to make it very difficult on NBA teams to pass up on him.

Beasley ended up being drafted second overall in the first round by the Miami Heat in the '08 draft, behind former Memphis point guard Derrick Rose.

At the NBA Rookie Transition Program prior to the 2008-09 season, Beasley was involved in an incident with Heat teammate Mario Chalmers and Grizzlies forward Darrell Arthur that alleged that the three had been using marijuana.

As a rookie, Beasley had a tough time staying on the court for first-year head coach Erik Spoelstra.

Spoelstra tried urging Beasley to commit himself further to the defensive side of the floor, something Beasley has never really had to do as a basketball player.

Spoelstra publicly claimed that lack of defense is what kept Beasley from playing more minutes, but there were whispers that the team's coaches and staff were constantly displeased with Beasley's lack of maturity and antics.

In just under 25 minutes per game last season, Beasley averaged about 14 points and five rebounds per game.

There is no doubt at all that the talent is there for him to become an NBA superstar.

At 6'9" and 245 pounds, Beasley is big, strong, and athletic enough to score from anywhere on the floor.

He can dominate his defender on the low block with his combination of strength and quickness, and he can also step out and shoot it from as deep as three-point range.

He showed a tremendous knack for rebounding in college, but wasn't able to crash the boards too effectively in his NBA rookie campaign.

Before the draft, much was made of the potential disaster that was mixing Beasley with the Miami social and party scene.

Despite these potential hold-ups, the Heat went with him.

Since the transition from the nonstop fun college life to the professional life, Beasley has struggled.

Beasley's father, Michael Sr., claimed that his son's transition has not been an easy one, especially since the recent birth of a daughter.

Michael Sr. told a couple of Miami-area radio stations that the stress of being a 20-year-old single father combined with the requirements and all that comes with being a professional athlete has made for a very difficult adjustment for his son.

Back in January, Beasley posted a similar tweet to one he posted this past weekend, saying he feels like the whole world is against him.

So, what can we make of this?

Michael Beasley apparently still has a long way to go until he can be mentioned in the same breath with some of the NBA's greats.

First and foremost, he has to get his personal life in order.

His checking into a rehab facility was a great first step.

It's a great sign for him to be apparently working towards fixing his life.

There are reports that he will be working with former NBA player and counselor John Lucas.

Lucas, a former drug addict himself, has worked with athletes such as Darryl Strawberry and Eddie Griffin in the past.

Should the treatment help Beasley get his life straightened out, he will also be able to commit himself more to becoming the great basketball player that he can be.

To a far less important extent, the Miami Heat have a lot riding on Michael Beasley as well.

Beasley's performance could be the difference between superstar Dwyane Wade staying or leaving Miami next summer.

If Beasley is able to make strides towards becoming a star himself, Wade may be more inclined to re-up with the Heat.

Should Beasley struggle again, Wade may be headed elsewhere.

Michael Beasley has taken a great first step towards recovery by seeking out Lucas and the rehab clinic.

If the treatment proves successful and Beasley is able to become more mature, I think the future is very, very bright for him as an NBA superstar.

It will be tough, and it will take time, but I think that in the end, he will get there.




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