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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Who Is the Real Michael Beasley?

Michael PintoSenior Writer IMarch 8, 2010

ATLANTA - APRIL 19: Michael Beasley #30 of the Miami Heat reacts after losing to the Atlanta Hawks during Game One of the First Round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 19, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Hawks defeated the Heat 90-64. 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 Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

After increasing his scoring average from 14.2 points in November to 17.3 points in December, it looked like Michael Beasley was really coming into his own in his second season. 

Then his numbers dipped slightly to 16.4 ppg in January and even more in February—13.5 ppg. 

It seems every time Beasley looks to be turning the corner as a professional athlete, we are again reminded he's a 21-year-old kid who two months ago wasn't allowed in a bar. 

Beasley has talent, there's no one who questions that. The issue is whether that talent is overshadowed by his immaturity or the other way around.

Before the season, he was the subject of countless criticisms over off the court issues. Beasley did a stint at a Houston addiction treatment facility after it came out he had tested positive for marijuana.

It wasn't the first time he'd had a run-in with the league over substance abuse issues. In September of 2008 he was fined $50,000 for his involvement in an incident at the NBA Rookie Transition Program.

Beasley, fellow Heat teammate Mario Chalmers, and Darrel Arthur of the Memphis Grizzlies had women in a hotel room during the strictly no guests allowed symposium. Hotel security also were alerted by the smell of marijuana coming from the room, but no drugs or paraphernalia were found.

All three players denied using any illegal substances.

The irony of the whole scene was the fact that the event they were attending is designed to help new NBA players handle the changes in lifestyle that accompany being in the league. 

It's things like that that make you wonder just how ready Beasley is to embrace his talent on the court. 

Since the birth of his two children this summer, the young man has admitted to making serious changes in the way he lives his life. Beasley has gone from extravagant nights on South Beach to video games at teammate Daequan Cook's house. 

He seems more relaxed this year, and definitely more focused. But that hasn't always led to success. 

Before exploding for 14 points in the fourth quarter of Miami's victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, Beasley had gone six contests without exceeding 15 points.

He has scored 20 or more points on 18 occasions this season, but has 15 games with ten points or fewer. For his 24 games with over .500 shooting, Beasley has responded with 19 games under .400. In 12 games this year he's gone without a turnover, in another 10 he's had three or more. 

So who's the real Michael Beasley?

The player who scored 14 points in the fourth quarter on Saturday, including two three-pointers, a steal, a block, and four straight possessions with superb defense on Atlanta's Josh Smith?

Or the player who averaged 9.6 points in the six games before then?

It seems every time Beasley has a break-through game like his 22-point performance on Saturday or his 30-point game on Feb. 19, he responds with a letdown the next time he gets on the court.

Heat coach Eric Spoelsta has admitted to spending extra time with Beasley after practices and in the film room, and at times it looks like that strategy has him spending too much time thinking on the court and not enough time reacting.

The question is which side of Beasley are we going to see over the next few seasons?

Its unlikely he will regress from this season, but its very possible the inconsistency will continue.

Hopefully for the Miami Heat's sake, Dr. Jekyll emerges as the real Michael Beasley.

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