Michael Beasley: The Best Has Yet to Come

Allen LevinCorrespondent IINovember 21, 2008

Some people say he's immature.

Some people say he has attitude issues.

And that's exactly what the Miami Heat rookie likes to hear.

As this 2008-09 NBA season progresses, Michael Beasley has been nothing short of impressive in his rookie campaign. He has scored, rebounded, been a team player, and he's not even close to being fully developed.

This year's rookie draft class was headlined by Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley, and OJ Mayo. And while early favorites for Rookie of the Year is looking like it will go to Rose or Mayo, you cannot count out the Kansas State product just yet.

Rose is averaging an impressive 18 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. Mayo is leading all rookies in scoring with 20 points per game. He is also averaging 4.5 boards and 1.2 steals per game.

Beasley, on the other hand, is averaging 15 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 30 minutes per game as a starter for the Heat. While this is clearly less than his Rookie of the Year competitors, you have to look at the facts.

Beasley is the only one out of the trio that is on a team with a true NBA superstar. Beasley's scoring, minutes, and hype are slightly hampered by Dwyane Wade. This is not to say that Wade is hurting Beasley's development or won't help him in the long run, it is just making the second overall pick discussed less than the other two rookies.

While Chicago has Ben Gordon, they lack a true superstar such as Wade, LeBron, or Kobe. Therefore, Rose can take over the game and produce a lot more highlights than Beasley can. As for Memphis, they also lack a true superstar. Although they have Rudy Gay, he still doesn't command the ball as much as Wade does, which gives Mayo more freedom to do what he wants.

Another thing that Beasley possesses over Rose and Mayo is potential. While the two each has loads of potential respectively, neither have the degree of potential that Beasley does. Beasley has the opportunity to become one of the best players in the NBA and possibly one of the best forwards of all time.

No one can forget about his year at Kansas State. He had inhuman numbers for a freshman, posting 26 points and 12 rebounds a game, which were the best numbers for a freshman in NCAA Basketball history. Beasley has the potential to average those numbers in the NBA year after year and become a perennial All-Star.

But, let's analyze how his play has been this year and his bid for Rookie of the Year.

Beasley's strengths are his offensive skills, which include his athleticism, shooting touch, and rebounding. He has showcased his athleticism with his drives to the basket and his quick feet inside the paint. He's been able to cut to the basket and draw fouls, too.

When he doesn't drive, he uses his jump shot from just inside the perimeter to hurt his opponents. For a 6'9" forward, he has a very nice stroke. He has even shown some talent from beyond the arc, shooting 31 percent from the three-point line.

When it comes to rebounding, Beasley excelled in that department in his college days. In the NBA, however, he has been struggling to a certain degree. But, a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that forwards Shawn Marion and Udonis Haslem clog up the paint and grab most of the rebounds for Miami. Once Beasley becomes a more integral part of the inside game, his rebounding total should improve astronomically.

As far as Beasley's weaknesses, the only thing I have seen is his defense. Beasley's defensive deficiencies are so obvious at times that he has been forced to sit in the fourth quarter of games. He tends to pick up fouls early and quite often. He picked up two in the first 72 seconds of the game against Toronto. But, as he matures and grows, his defense will improve and his foul trouble should decrease.

Overall, I think Michael Beasley has had a solid first month in the NBA. He is second on the Heat in scoring and has contributed highly in Miami's six wins this year. He's shown signs of greatness in this young season and already has several highlight reel plays.

I think the Miami Heat made the right choice in selecting Beasley with the second overall pick back in June's Draft. It is only a matter of a time before he becomes a superstar. Once this happens, Miami will have a dangerous one-two punch and one of the most dynamic duos in the NBA with Wade and Beasley.

Just wait, the best has yet to come for this budding star.