Kevin Durant Says Michael Beasley Is as Skilled as LeBron James

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 24, 2018

Milwaukee Bucks' Michael Beasley (9) drives against Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, in Milwaukee. The Warriors won 124-121. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Aaron Gash/Associated Press

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant heaped major praise on New York Knicks forward Michael Beasley following Golden State's 123-112 win Tuesday.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Durant alluded to Beasley's preseason comparison as a scorer (KD and LeBron James), and the reigning Finals MVP agreed with the assessment:

"I love Beas. I love his family. I love what he's doing. He never had a fair chance. I said in a comment earlier this year before the season where he said he was just as skilled as LeBron and myself, and I was feeling him on that.

"I was feeling him, because he is. He can score from anywhere. He can score on anybody. He can use both hands, but there's something else that separates. You know what I'm saying? I think that's just the difference, the mental part of it. And he's got the foundation of his game set; it's just time to build on top of it."

Beasley scored 21 points Tuesday and is averaging 12.8 points in just 19.7 minutes per game this season.

In an October interview with Bleacher Report's Yaron Weitzman, Beasley said he believes non-basketball factors are primarily why he isn't viewed on the same level as Durant and James.

"[It's] mostly perception. As far as talent-wise, I match up with Kevin, LeBron, I match up with the best guys in the world. I'm not being cocky; it's just always how I felt. But I got into trouble as soon as I got into the NBA, and it left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths."

In terms of accomplishments, Beasley is nowhere near the level of James or Durant. The pairing has combined for 23 All-Star nods, four championships, five MVP awards and four NBA Finals MVP awards.

Beasley was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft by the Miami Heat out of Kansas State.

He was a productive scorer early in his career and even averaged 19.2 points per game in 2010-11 with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Beasley has been a journeyman unable to stay in one place for more than two seasons since, though. He has played for the Heat, T-Wolves, Phoenix Suns, Heat (again), Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks and Knicks.

This season has been Beasley's most productive campaign since 2010-11, as he is a key bench contributor and fill-in starter.

Although Beasley hasn't come close to living up to his billing as a No. 2 overall draft pick, he has proved his worth to the Knicks this season. At just 29, he should have several more years of solid basketball in him.

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