Michael Beasley chose the rough path to NBA success. He was a No. 2 overall pick as a freshman out of Kansas State with potential All-Star skills, but he was a knucklehead at times off the court and didnt possess the maturity to immediately harness those talents into a superstar career.
Almost a decade into his pedestrian NBA run, Beasley has been no more than good, but he could always score. In fact, he’s been telling fools since he got off the plane at JFK that hes capable of doing what hes done with a surprising Knicks team recently.
Expected to be nothing more than a spark off the bench, Beasley has shown explosive scoring abilities at a time when the Knicks need it most as star Kristaps Porzingis court time is limited due to ankle and knee problems.
On a night when Porzingis was obviously ailing and shot 0-11 from the field, Beasley came off the bench to collect his second 30-point performance in the last three games and lead the Knicks (17-14) to its biggest win of the season over the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics and Kyrie Irving.
NBA on Twitter
Michael Beasley scores 32 off the bench with 12 boards to electrify the MSG crowd! #Knicks https://t.co/RH76XXHu8s
On Dec. 16, with Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. out, Beasley stepped up, shot 11-18 from the field with 30 points and 9 boards in a win over Melo and OKC, then he went for 23 and 9 against the Hornets before Thursday nights explosion.
When he came to NY, Beasley said he was unstoppable.
Marc Berman on Twitter
Michael Beasley tells The Post he “can’t be stopped” and just needs a little more playing time #Knicks https://t.co/vG6IK266Ei
We kind of laughed it off as delusional bravado oozing from an NBA never-was.
Then in October, Beasley told Bleacher Report’s Yaron Weitzman, “As far as talent-wise, I match up with Kevin [Durant], LeBron [James], 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.”
Again, Beasley was the brunt of jokes.
He might have been a changed man, but nobody was listening anymore. A couple off court incidents, including some marijuana issues labeled him a talented but unstable player. At one point, Beasley dropped out of the league and thankfully a couple of season in China, including one MVP campaign, got him back into the NBA and he’s developed into a valuable bench player. He says all his troubles are in the past and hasn’t been in trouble in seix seasons. Hes a different person, but his old demons are still following him and affecting how people view him as a player.
Its exactly the reason, Beasley said. People meet me. First thing they say: Youre totally different than I thought you are. A large part of my career is due to perception, what people think what I am or should be. My past is my past. They keep harping on it. Everyone wants me to grow up and learn from my past, learn from my mistakes. But you guys should do the same thing. Im years removed from any marijuana incident or incident period. But its all anybody speaks about. Ive grown up. Now its time for you to grow up.
His discussion with SNY’s Taylor Rooks concerning human brain usage didnt help his perception as a rationale dude, but you got to give him credit for coming to MSG despite the tattered reputation that James Dolan has acquired throughout the league.
Taylor Rooks on Twitter
From Michael Beasley podcast…we debated & disagreed about this (& much more) for at least 15 min. WHO IS RIGHT? https://t.co/2Bess1WpN2 https://t.co/VrnggG7Bk1
When a struggling and offensively-challenged NY Knicks franchise came calling, Beasley saw it as an opportunity to blossom and show what he can do. The Knicks are his sixth NBA team after drafted by Miami in 2008 following his record-setting Kansas State freshman season of 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds. Beasleys NBA career average is 12.6 points in 23 minutes.
When he signed with the squad for the veteran minimum, Beasley told The Post he could be that player he was in college for the Knicks.
Ill bring what they saw in college, Beasley told The Post. I just need the opportunity to show that. Look at my nine-year career, Ive always been close to a point a minute. Ive always been a walking bucket. Nobody can stop me, hasnt stopped me my last nine years. Every time Ive touched the ball, the defenders scared. Im at the point of my career Im just tired of not getting the acknowledgement of being who I am.
Ive always been the quiet, not-stand-up-for-myself-kind-of-guy. Not being disrespectful. But I want my respect. For the last nine years, Ive been a walking bucket, man. Anytime you want a point, Ill give you a point, no matter what the circumstances, who the player is defending me.
Look like the talking pundits and the social media matrix has mischaracterized Beasley and not recognized the transformation he has gone through. Beasley has chosen the perfect stage to give superstardom one last shot. It will be up to coach Jeff Hornacek to give him the time he needs to continue to shine, but right now the Knicks have no choice with Porzingis day-to-day and Hardaway Jr. in a boot. Lifes all about ceasing the moment and this is Beasleys chance to rewrite his legacy under the bright lights of broadway. Hes getting that love he always wanted as a player. He’s “strapped in.”
NBA on Twitter
I’m strapped in!” @Michael8easley leads the @nyknicks huddle after a big home win! https://t.co/RKYqgJrBev