Knicks forward Michael Beasley has truly gone off his rocker. His logic didn’t make sense two weeks ago when he told ESPN he thinks the Knicks could be the No. 5 seed in the East this season, but now that we’ve gotten a peak deeper into his mind, we can understand how he arrived at that conclusion.
In an interview with Bleacher Report’s Yaron Weitzman, Beasley claimed he’s as talented as LeBron James and Kevin Durant. You know, the two best basketball players in the world:
Beasley, though, has a different view of why he never grew into the player so many expected him to become.
“[It’s] mostly perception. As far as talent-wise, I match up with Kevin [Durant], LeBron, I match up with the best guys in the world,” Beasley says. “I’m not being cocky; it’s just always how I felt. But I got into trouble as soon as I got into the NBA, and it left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths.”
Back in the day, Beasley was an absolute stud. Averaging 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds with a 56.3 effective field goal percentage in his lone season at Kansas State, he became the second freshmen to win Big 12 Player of the Year, joining — you guessed it — Kevin Durant. He then led the Wildcats to an NCAA Tournament upset over O.J. Mayo and Taj Gibson’s USC team. (Coincidentally, Mayo, who was picked directly after Beasley in the 2008 draft, is also trying to resurrect an underwhelming NBA career.)
Beasley went No. 2 overall to the Heat and made the 2008-09 NBA All-Rookie First Team, but his career never took off as people hoped. His reputation took a hit when reports surfaced that he had been fined repeatedly throughout the year for violations of team rules. Later on, he would be ticketed for possession of marijuana and cited for driving 71 mph in a 45 mph zone with a suspended license and loaded gun.
He averaged a career-high 19.2 points with the Timberwolves in 2012-13, but it’s been downhill ever since. After the T-Wolves, he spent a year with the Suns but got waived following an arrest on suspicion of marijuana possession. Since then, he hasn’t played more than 56 games in a NBA season, though he did win MVP honors in the Chinese Basketball Association in two years ago.
Beasley believes he’s a changed man, and he’s coming off his best season since that career year in Minnesota. He averaged 9.4 points on 53.2 percent shooting in 56 games for the Bucks, earning an All-Star vote from Grizzlies guard Tony Allen.
Even during his dominant college days, Beasley didn’t match up with Durant and James talent-wise, but that doesn’t mean his comeback story isn’t worth rooting for.