It’s not very often I have the thought that my eyes are deceiving me.
When I look at this chart comparing Michael Beasley’s freshman year at Kansas State to Kevin Durant’s at Texas, I can’t come up with a reasonable explanation.
|Player||Pts. per 40 min.||Rebounds per game||Assists per game||True shooting %||Off. Rating|
Durant was with the Longhorns for the 2007-08 season, Beasley played the following season at Kansas State. Both players participated in the same conference, with similar competition, at a similar age. The current Suns forward was a better player in college than Durant, who is now the second-best player in the NBA.
Taking it a step further, since 1997-1998, according to the college basketball section at sports-reference.com, “B-Easy” is the only player to average at least 25 points, 12 rebounds and shoot over 50 percent from the field at that level. He accomplished this at the age of 18.
Fast forward to the present. Instead of growing into the superstar player his college performance suggested he would, Beasley is coming off the worst season of his professional career.
There are extra-curricular, off-court issues that always need to be brought up when discussing the former number-two overall pick. I can only examine what is tangible. I’ve dealt with Beasley on a few of occasions, and he seemed like a nice person. Who he actually is, I have no idea — so that’s not something I’m really interested in.
What does bother me is why a player who showed ability at the NCAA level is regressing as he hits a stage when he should be starting to flourish.
Is this something the new Suns regime featuring head coach Jeff Hornacek and general manager Ryan McDonough can find a way to salvage?
There is no way around it, Beasley was used incorrectly last season by Alvin Gentry and Lindsey Hunter. The Kansas State product should be played at power forward and not small forward.