Where to Rank Michael Beasley?
Well, it’s not that simple. For one thing, Beasley’s overall rookie numbers were well below Durant’s because Beasley only played 25 minutes/game off the bench while Durant played 35 minutes per game as a starter. For another thing, Durant was only a tweener (SG/SF) because of his weight and in his second season he moved to his natural SF position and blossomed. Beasley continues to be a tweener due to his height, and he is being moved to SF this season when he has always played PF in the past…could be a transition. Third, Durant is the unquestioned center of the Thunder offense while Beasley has to fit in around Dwyane Wade. And finally, we can’t overlook that Beasley just had to spend some time in rehab/therapy which makes his mental state a risk.
All of that said, Beasley does have the talent to match Durant’s rise. He is a more natural rebounder and naturally shoots more efficiently than Durant does, and he is expected to start off the bat this season. His coach recently praised his mental and physical condition, saying that it was clear that Beasley could handle 36 minutes per game this year…which if true, does a lot to boost his value. And while Wade is still the man in
Personally, I expect Beasley’s numbers this year to look a lot like his per 36 minutes from last season, which would put him firmly among the top 50 players in the league. You can likely get him in the middle-late rounds of your draft (his Yahoo ADP is 107), which means that I expect him to outperform his draft slot. There is definitely some risk there, but I think this is a time when you take a risk on upside and perhaps ride the rewards into championship contention.