June 24, 2008
I have to admit I have only been following the Miami Heat since Dwyane Wade was drafted fifth overall in 2003.
That draft left an indelible mark on the Heat and the NBA, with Lebron James, Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh emerging as superstars, while players like Boris Diaw, Leandro Barbosa, Jason Kapono, and David West have become key contributors.
The 2008 NBA Draft looks like it might have similar depth—although you can't expect to be finding stud players after the first few picks. Likewise, you can't give up the opportunity to take a potential franchise player to add depth.
But this is what I keep hearing out of Miami—Pat Riley and the Heat aren't sold on Michael Beasley, and as are interested in moving their second pick, or drafting OJ Mayo at No. 2.
I recently wrote that I believed a Shawn Marion and No. 2 for Elton Brand and No. 7
works for the Miami Heat. However, each player had to opt out and neither did, making a sign-and-trade before the draft impossible. Still, the two teams could conspire to simply draft the proper players and make the deal after July 1.
Additionally, Marion for Brand may be an equal swap—but Beasley for Bayless, Gordon—even OJ Mayo—makes this a lopsided trade for the Heat. Only a straight-up trade would benefit Miami.
The more I hear scouts talk glowingly about Michael Beasley as a player, his off-court problems not withstanding, simply drafting and keeping Michael Beasley looks like the only viable option for Miami.
Kyle Lowry, Mike Miller, plus whoever is available at No. 5 (Kevin Love, Brook Lopez, Russell Westbrook) doesn't make up for missing out on Beasley. That makes the Sonics offer of Chris Wilcox and No. 4 laughable in comparison—even if they take Mark Blount's bloated contract.
But I thought getting Elton Brand and a point guard was worth giving up on the man they call "Beastly." After further consideration, I was wrong.
Michael Beasley had the most dominant freshman year we've seen in a long time, better—even more so than NBA Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant, who didn't play a No. 1 team, much less beat them almost single-handedly.
At 6'8'', Michael Beasley led the country in rebounding while playing in the Big 12, which boasts first-round big men like Darrell Arthur, DeAndre Jordan, and the potential number-one pick in 2009, Blake Griffin. Anyone who challenges this kid's hustle or will needs to seriously reconsider their own value system.
Second, Derrick Rose is not Chris Paul, Deron Williams, or Jason Kidd—with or without a jump shot. He has good, not "great," court vision, a low shooting percentage from three-point range and the free throw line, and an awkward release on his jumper.
The Chicago-born Rose has a solid handle, and can really attack the rim—but the best pure-point guard prospect since Chris Paul? No. I repeat emphatically and with ferocity: "No! He's not Chris Paul!"
Rose's name has been bandied about as the first pick by the Bulls—not for his scoring or even his passing, but for his leadership and passion. Meanwhile, Beasley detractors point to immaturity and "character flaws."
Rose played one season at Memphis and was outstanding in the tournament. However, his body of work doesn't suggest great leadership. He wasn't the guy Memphis wanting taking the shot at the end of the game—that was Chris Douglass-Roberts. So where is this leadership tag coming from?
Kansas State head coach Frank Martin called his own freshman Michael Beasley "the best teammate I've ever been around." At Kansas State, Beasley played in an entire season's worth of hostile environments, while Rose played in a handful. Beasley scored 25 points and pulled down six rebounds when his Wildcats beat eventual National Champion Kansas by nine.
Rose dominated the second half of the National Championship game, scoring 14 of his team's 16 points during one stretch to lift the Tigers to a 60-51 lead with 2:12 left. However, over the last minute-plus, Rose and CDR combined to go 1-5 from the free-throw line, leaving Kansas with a chance to come back and send the game into overtime.
Beasley did lose at Kansas later in the season, and Rose was playing well late in March when it counted. However, the point here is that Rose takes over the game with his scoring, just like Beasley. Only Beasley is a significantly better scorer, rebounder, and shot-blocker than Rose, who doesn't have a Jason Kidd or Chris Paul-like ability to dictate the outcome of a game without scoring a point.
That being the case, why do the Bulls need another scoring point guard? Why has Rose been erroneously construed as a point guard capable of playing like Jason Kidd? Why in the world would Miami pass on "Beastly" if he drops to them at No. 2—or worse, trade him for cap space and some role players?
The only—I repeat, ONLY—trade that makes sense for Miami is if the Grizzlies include Mike Conley Jr. instead of Kyle Lowry. Mike Conley looks like a more accurate Chris Paul comparison, with Rose looking more like a lower scoring, less assertive Dwyane Wade.
Add Mike Miller and the No. 5 pick and the Heat would really have something. Conley, Wade, Miller, and Marion would be quite the core, able to score points with anyone (Something the Heat struggled to do all season).
That being said, I believe both Rose and Beasley have long careers ahead of them, assuming they can stay healthy and neither have a history of injuries. I have wanted the Heat to get Rose all season long, because I wanted them to win enough games that they wouldn't be picking first.
The Heat recently worked out Mayo and Arizona's Jerryd Bayless which really worries me. That means either a trade is imminent, or what we've been hearing for a while now, that he Heat could BYPASS Beasley even as trade bait and take Mayo outright. That is such a ridiculous notion, I am not articulate enough to explain how that thought process could even come about.
Well, they won enough games to pick first, but got unlucky enough to get the second pick. If the Bulls take Derrick Rose with the first overall pick, the lottery-night letdown won't seem so unlucky.