Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Michael Beasley is the Best Player in America

Everytime I watch Kansas State freshman Michael Beasley play I am more and more impressed. He has such an array of skills. He can shoot threes. He can finish in the paint with either hand, no matter how tough or off-balance the shot is. He can run the floor as well as any big man. He is an unreal rebounder - he gets boards that he has no business getting. His catches everything that is thrown to him. He has made 41 of his last 44 free throwns and is shooting 76% from the line on the season. He doesn't get a ton of assists, but he can pass out of a double team and makes very good decisions with the ball.

But the reason I am so impressed by him is that he has yet to develop a real post game yet. He gets most of his baskets one of two ways - he out works someone for an offensive rebound and putback or someone drives and dumps it off to him for a dunk. Sometimes he will back a defender down, or square him up and go by him, but you rarely see Beasley make a move with his back to the basket. Granted, he plays on a team with a bunch of guards and wingman that love to control the ball (Bill Walker, Jacob Pullen) and he is averaging 26 and 12, so coaches are setting their game plans around keeping the ball out of his hands. But he has a tendency to get the ball, take one or two dribbles, and try to muscle his was to the rim. Yes, he does get fouled alot, but he also takes some bad shots, even for him, and he won't out muscle NBA big men. Imagine how good he could be if he develops a baby hook, or an up-and-under, or a turn-around. I can see him being similar to a Derrick Coleman or a Rasheed Wallace, only better because he is a work horse on the boards.

One issue I see with him is that he doesn't give effort the entire game. Connor Atchley had three huge baskets down the stretch (two on putbacks after missed box outs and one on a drive from the top of the key) when Beasley was guarding him. Don't get me wrong, Atchley is a good player, but he shouldn't be blowing by Beasley or beating him to the glass. He also has a tendency to stand in one place on the block with his hand up, instead of working for better position as the ball is rotated. Those are two relatively minor flaws, however, given everything else he can do.

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