Pat Riley, Who's Laughing Now? Beasley Sure Has Something To Smile About

Cain RoseContributor IDecember 12, 2010

MIAMI - NOVEMBER 02:  Forward Michael Beasley #8 of the Minnesota Timberwolves in action against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on November 2, 2010 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

At the beginning of the season, many people figured Minnesota was doing Miami a favor taking B-Easy off their hands in exchange for draft picks, even though the Big Three could've still have been signed despite his contract.

It seemed as if the guy everyone thought would be the next superstar and come into the NBA as dominant as Kevin Durant would forever be a disappointment.

Why wouldn't they?

Statistically, Beasley had barely made ANY improvement from his rookie year to his sophomore campaign, only averaging about one point and one rebound more per game, while shooting worse from behind the arc and his FG percentage overall.

All this while playing five minutes more per game and starting. Couple that, with the stories about him being depressed and all other kinds of off-court issues, and it isn't hard to understand why most people wrote him off as not exactly being a bust, but being a guy who'd never live up to his mass potential.

Fast forward to today.

Michael Beasley has apparently turned over a new leaf, he can impose his will on the game much more these days and his scoring average has risen higher than it ever has in his career.

So, the question now being asked: Is this a result of him being on a bad team and his stats are inflated, or is he really this good?

To be honest, it's a bit of both. For starters, the Heat weren't exactly a "good" team during his time there, they were mediocre at best. He, of course, played second fiddle to Dwyane Wade.

Is that a bad thing? Not exactly.

However, not every talent is compatible with another. We've seen a prime example of this with the Iverson/Anthony pairing in Denver, and how much better it went for Anthony with a change of scenery, or in other words, Chauncey Billups.

It doesn't mean Wade is a bad teammate, but obviously, something there was stopping these two from meshing well.

You can say Beasley is only doing so well because he's the focal point of Minnesota's offense. True, but with that acknowledgement, you must also pay mind to the fact that because of this, each opponent he faces will make him the focal point of their defense, a lot more so than they did in Miami where he was the second option.

Yet, Beasley is performing better than he's ever done even with these new responsibilities. How much better?

At the time I write this, Beasley is averaging 21 ppg, 6 rpg, 1.5 apg, shooting 47 percent from the field and 38 percent from downtown.

As compared to last season, where he averaged 15 ppg, 6 rpg, 1.3 apg, shooting 45 percent from the field and 28 percent from downtown.

All while being the focal point of his team's offense as well as the opposing team's defense.

Yeah, I think it's clear who's having the last laugh.