The 2013-14 NBA season is not a month old yet and Michael Beasley has found himself in new yet familiar territory.
He is back with the Miami Heat where he played his first two seasons as the second overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft. However, he didn’t return as one of the league’s best players.
This is Beasley’s last real chance to prove that he belongs in the NBA after various drug related incidents and inconsistent play cut short his tenures with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns.
With a more diminished role in Miami, Beasley has seen little action until recently as injuries to Udonis Haslem along with a cold hitting Ray Allen have forced Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra to dig deeper into his bench. Beasley has not wasted the opportunity so far as he has able to be productive on offense in limited minutes. While this may help him gain trust with Miami’s coaching staff, regaining the trust of a fan base that expected more of him during his first stint could be another story.
When Beasley was drafted by the Heat it was thought that he would a scoring option to compliment Dwyane Wade and at the time Shawn Marion. Once Marion was traded by Miami Beasley was expected to pick up the offensive load, but he was too inconsistent on the floor and too enamored with marijuana off the court. That not only made the Heat organization sour on him, but the fans soured on him as well.
The way that Beasley was shuttled out of Miami along with his subsequent troubles in Minnesota and Phoenix only served to solidify the negative sentiment that the majority of Heat fans had of the franchise’s highest ever draft pick. Beasley had his defenders who saw the untapped potential he showed in college, but they were and still are in the minority. That’s why when the news that the Heat were bringing Beasley back on a non-guaranteed contract became official it was met with mixed results.
Beasley now has the chance to slowly build up the trust of the fans he let down the first time.
The fans that look at what Derrick Rose, who was picked before Beasley, has done in his career and expected similar results.
The fans that see him as taking a roster spot from Mike Miller despite the fact that he was amnestied for financial reasons.
The fans who see the weakness Miami has at center and look at what Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert, and Nikola Pekovic, who were in the same draft as Beasley, have become.
Those are the fans that Beasley has to impress most this time around and it’s not an easy road to have this done.
The main obstacle that Beasley faces in the way that Spoelstra sets his rotation. He normally keeps the Heat rotation at nine players with Shane Battier, Norris Cole, Chris Andersen, and Allen coming off the bench. Haslem’s injury has pushed Battier to be part of the starting lineup opening up a spot for Beasley. That will likely change once Haslem is back to full health.
Another obstacle is the fact that Beasley’s contract is non-guaranteed. This gives Miami flexibility to cut him if another player becomes available like with Andersen last season. This is unlikely as LeBron James has taken a liking to Beasley and has essentially put him under his wing.
It’s not easy to have a fan base place trust on a player, but Miami’s fan base has been eclectic when it comes to this. They have embraced players like Ronny Turiaf, Eddy Curry, and are likely to do it with Greg Oden once he is ready make his season debut.
Beasley may be able to do the same as long as he focuses on what happens on the court. Only time will tell.