The Minnesota Timberwolves will likely be drafting Arizona forward Derrick Williams this week with the second overall pick, but many Wolves fans will hope that general manager and team president David Kahn does the sensible move and trade his rights away.
The reason for Williams to be traded is that the Timberwolves may already have a star in the making at small forward, Michael Beasley.
Beasley was an incredibly coveted combo forward at Kansas State in the 2007-08 season. He left college early as a freshman after averaging a ridiculous 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds per game and was drafted by the Miami Heat with the second pick overall.
He came off the bench as a rookie in Miami and averaged just 24.8 minutes per game. Right off from the beginning, he wasn't given a large enough opportunity to shine. It would have been difficult for Beasley to shine anyway given that he would have been Dwyane Wade's sidekick for the majority of his time in a Heat uniform. He averaged a very respectable 13.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game anyway.
His sophomore season didn't rise him to star status either. Even though he averaged 29.8 minutes per game, he only scored 14.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Though, it was still not a poor season considering his teammate Wade was carrying the load with 26.6 points per game.
Last summer, he was dealt to the Minnesota Timberwolves for just two second round picks in a successful effort for the Heat to create a "Big Three" of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Wade. Moving Beasley helped give Miami the ability to add several quality players such as Mike Miller and Zydrunas Ilgauskas to their bench while re-signing Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony.
Ever since Beasley arrived in Minnesota, his attitude and work ethic have been unquestioned by the team or his teammates. Beasley averaged 19.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game last season as the starting small forward for the Timberwolves.
His play has finally taken the next step and he's on the verge of star status if he can have another impressive season in 2011.
With all that said, he resembles superstar small forward, Carmelo Anthony.
When Anthony was drafted third overall out of Syracuse in 2003, he was immediately thrown into the starting lineup and given the keys to the team so to speak. He took full advantage of it and had ridiculous numbers from the start.
If Beasley had been granted this and had not had an already superstar-level player in Wade on his team, there are no doubts that his number could have been very similar to Anthony's.
For the sake of the argument, though, Anthony's second season as a starter and Beasley's second season a starter will be compared.
Anthony: 75 GP (75 GS), 34.8 MPG, .431 FG%, .266 3P%, .796 FT%, 5.7 RPG, 0.4 BPG, 0.9 STL, and 20.8 PPG
Beasley: 73 GP (73 GS), 32.2 MPG, .450 FG%, .366 3P%, .753 FT%, 5.6 RPG, 0.7 BPG, 0.7 STL, and 19.2 PPG
After comparing the stats, Beasley looks to be following Anthony's footsteps in a very similar way.
Anthony and Beasley's play on the court is also comparable.
Their mid-range jump shots are extremely dangerous. Anthony and Beasley can both get to the rim at will and have the ability to draw fouls while doing so. Both players can score the basketball via the three-pointer.
They both also play with incredible swagger like they can not be stopped on the floor. In terms of being clutch, these two players love the ball in their hands with the game on the line.
The only differences so far in their careers are the different hair styles Beasley chooses to do, their age, and the fact that he's left-handed, while Anthony is right-handed.
The Timberwolves have a special talent in Beasley on their roster and they would do right to not trade him. Williams may be a well-liked prospect coming out of college, but Beasley is likely a player growing to be a superstar in the NBA.
At just 22 years old, Beasley has plenty of time to get to the level that Anthony is currently at. Beasley is a very special player and so many do not know to what extent yet, but he will be a household name down the line in his future.
It would be great for the NBA, and more importantly the Timberwolves team and fan base, for Beasley to become the next Carmelo Anthony.