Every year during the NBA draft stars enter the league, but with those stars along comes explosions; we know them as “Busts”. Both Michael Beasley(2008) and Kevin Durant(2007) were drafted 2nd overall in the NBA draft, they both play the same position, both EQUALLY TALENTED, they are both gifted physically, yet they are on opposite ends of the league; Durant is a tier one superstar and Beasley is a struggling player who’s trying to find his place on a team. You know what separates these two players?
Let’s start with Kevin Durant. Durant was a workhorse as soon as he stepped into the league; the dude spends hours in the gym working on his game. People forget, during Durant’s rookie season he shot 29% from 3-point land, and averaged only 4.4 rebounds. Durant during his sophomore campaign improved his numbers in every category, his scoring went up from 20.3 -> 25.3, his field goal percentage went up from 43% -> 48%, his rebounds went up from 4.4 -> 6.5, and his 3-point percentage went up from 29% -> 42%.
You know what led Durant from raw talented rookie to superstar? His hard work, his love for the game, he understood how to behave like a professional, and he handled his sudden riches(his millions in his contract and endorsements) in a mature manner. All of these reasons are why Kevin Durant has taken the torch from Kobe Bryant as the most deadly player at the offensive end of the floor and will ultimately land Durant in the basketball hall of fame.
Now let’s turn our attentions to Michael Beasley. Unlike Durant, Beasley struggled with his sudden riches and became complacent with his situation. Just look at last off-season during the lockout, Durant was busy traveling around the country playing pick-up gameswhile Beasley was pulled over by a cop in Minnesota and was arrested for possession of marijuana; that story alone just about tells it all. However in Beasley’s defense if you gave me a contract today worth over 16 million dollars for the next four years I’d get lazy too. Obviously you can’t expect every 19-year old to come into the league, all the sudden become millionaires, and all the sudden become famous and handle all that with professionalism.
When Beasley first came into the league it was obvious he was overwhelmed by the bright lights of the NBA. Beasley was more into partyin’ than ballin’. And ultimately all his partying and issues with marijuana has caught up to him and left him where he is today. Beasley’s numbers has dipped from season to season, and it was obvious his rookie season was his best. Beasley is still an above average player who has an ocean of talent sealed in a bottle. Luckily for Beasley he still has years to go before NBA teams disregard him completely.
Beasley is fortunate that the Suns gave him a chance to put his life and his career back on track. Once again, no one has ever questioned Beasley’s talent and critics still have respect for his game; so does NBA teams or else Beasley would’ve never got that nice contract from the Suns. However his clock is ticking, this upcoming season is Beasley’s season, this season he’s got to prove to the NBA he’s deserving of being picked 2nd overall.
This is exactly what separates average players from good players from great players. Good players become great players through hard work and love of the game. Hell! If Steve Nash never practiced every off-season and do all that extracurricular activity he might of been another Jason Williams. I expect great things from Michael Beasley because he has a god given gift in his talent, a guy like Beasley can slack off and stay in the league for years but you look at a player like Jared Dudley who has to work his butt off to just be a role player in the league. It’d be a damn shame for Beasley to throw his talent away. No one is expecting Beasley to become Durant anytime soon or even ever but Beasley has got to be a much better player than he’s been the past season.