For whatever reason, he’s not living up to expectations.
The sad truth is that he was an unwise draft selection for the Miami Heat.
It’s a shame when you consider that beneath his personal and professional struggles is a truly nice guy.
It’s a shame when you consider how much talent was available to the Heat at positions of greater need – from point guard Russell Westbrook, to power forward Kevin Love, to center Brook Lopez to name a few.
Some of us blame Pat Riley for drafting him, some of us blame Erik Spoelstra for the way in which he has been handled. Some of us blame Dywane Wade for his lack of mentorship. Others of us put the blame squarely on Michael’s shoulders.
At this point, it doesn’t matter who’s at fault. The only thing that matters is putting championship-caliber pieces around Dwyane Wade in the offseason.
Michael Beasley should not be one of those pieces. At this point, a separation is as good for Michael as it is for Miami. And it’s coming. It’s inevitable. As soon as the Heat successfully signs Bosh or Stoudemire or Boozer, Michael becomes expendable and clearing his salary more valuable. So the question is not what the Heat should do with him but rather what it can expect in return for him.
Expecting much of value in return for Beasley will not be easy.
Consider the perception of him from those outside of South Florida. Off the court, he has had a worrisome and checkered past. On the court, he appears very unpolished and, even worse, all-too-often completely lost. Nobody’s quite sure if he’s a small forward or power forward. His physical attributes – height, weight, shoulder width, etc. – suggest he’s the former but he seems to perform better as the latter. He can’t defend either position.
All indications thus far seem to suggest interest in the troubled forward from around the league is waning. The Heat were interested in Amare Stoudemire at the trade deadline but never offered Beasley up in return, instead communicating a commitment to build around him as a cornerstone.
Since that time, Beasley’s game has deteriorated. He’s averaging a mere 13.1 points, on 42.0% shooting, and 5.6 rebounds per game. In the playoffs, his production has been worse. Last night was telling. He was playing in front of a national audience. The entire country was watching. He was matched up against the undersized and not so fleet-of-foot Celtics backup power forward Glenn Davis, a great match-up for the swift and agile Beasley in his bid for redemption. And he stunk.
People have thrown around Beasley trade proposals involving anyone from Darren Collison to Tyreke Evans to Stephen Curry (my favorite N.B.A. point guard, a must-acquire for the Heat if at all possible, no matter what it costs, short of Wade, though it’s not possible, and I’m just dreaming) to Chris Bosh. Such proposals would seem ludicrous at this point. I would suggest that we all temper our expectations just a bit. Right now, the bigger worry is about Miami’s ability to move him – and his $5 million expiring contract – at all.