By Erik Ong @FantasyHoopla
While it is hard to lose the sour taste left behind by the “Dwightmares” and “Melo-dramas” of recent history, I find it to be a good NBA palate cleanser to find something positive to cheer about in often times the most obscure situations.
After the recent coaching change that the Phoenix Suns underwent, we find Lindsey Hunter at the helm of the team left behind by Alvin Gentry. Like with most coaching changes, teams’ rotations changes and sometimes players get fresh opportunities to prove themselves. One such player affected by this recent turn of events in Phoenix is Michael Beasley.
Much has been expected of Beasley after the Suns signed him this summer. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much to rave about when it came to Beasley and his production for the team. Well, at least until now. Beasley has earned the good graces of his coach and has steadily been awarded more time on the floor over his last four games. He even recently led the team passed the Los Angeles Lakers. Yes, when you’re done with your double take and have finished rubbing the disbelief out of your eyes, it is true. We might just be looking at the first few pages of the “Comeback Chapter” in Beasley’s pro basketball career.
He was talented, but immature youngster when he was drafted by the Miami Heat in 2008 (2nd overall). He often got himself into trouble with his off-the-court antics. Such was the case on September 3, 2008 when he and fellow rookies Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur were involved in “an incident” that involved a fire alarm at two a.m. and a room that strongly smelled of marijuana. To think, this occurred before he had logged his first NBA game. It was during the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program. Yup, way to set a first impression rookie. That was just the beginning. On August 24 2009, Beasley reportedly checked into a rehab center in Houston, days after he posted a photo of himself on Twitter with what was speculated to be a bag of marijuana in the background. To say that he’s had to struggle with Demons, is almost an understatement.
After spending two years with Miami, he signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2010. There he seemed lost and even declined statistically after what appeared to be a promising first season with the team. Once again, an opportunity for him to live up to his potential, gone up in smoke (no pun intended, Michael)
It’s a refreshing change to cheer for a “bad boy” to grow up and find his way in the league. I know it shows my age, but I can still remember when Zach Randolph was the newest member of Portland’s trio of bad influence, like it was yesterday. Today, he’s simmered down, and I’d like to think matured a bit as I watch him play a big role for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Now here we are, somewhere in the middle of the season and a coaching-change-in-Phoenix later… Beasley now has a chance to get his act together and be a seriously useful contributor to a team that is now looking to find a new identity. Perhaps as this story unfolds, both the player and the team can find what they are looking for together.
Erik Ong is a long-time NBA fan from the Philippines. He has been writing about fantasy basketball since 2007 and has written for sites such as Give Me The Rock, Sports Illustrated, Pippen Ain’t Easy, and FHM. Current writer at Fantasy Basketball Coaches, where “Guts Make Teams Real”. You can follow him on Twitter: @FantasyHoopla.