Beasley: Up in smoke

The headline used in this blog is not very original, but it is somewhat accurate.

Former Kansas State standout forward Michael Beasley, the second pick in the 2008 NBA draft, seems to have literally smoked his way out of the NBA. He was released by the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, a month after being arrested by Scottsdale, Ariz., police for marijuana possession.

Michael Beasley has us all scratching our heads.

What a waste of talent. And what a waste of a brain, if indeed Beasley has one. That is subject to debate.

There was a debate in the days and weeks leading up to the draft about which player should be selected at No. 1. It boiled down to either Michael Beasley or Derrick Rose, a guard coming out of Memphis.

The Chicago Bulls ultimately decided to take Rose. Beasley fell – or stumbled, as it might have turned out given his affinity for weed – to the Miami Heat at No. 2.

Beasley didn’t last long in Miami. He hasn’t lasted long anywhere. He’s had ongoing issues with marijuana and, at 24, just might not get another job.

And why should he?

Even when he plays, Beasley has largely been a disappointment. Regarded as a “can’t-miss prospect” coming out of Kansas State, Beasley has puffed his way into missing and missing badly.

Beasley actually wasn’t bad during his first three seasons, averaging 12.9, 14.8 and 19.2 points per game. He spent the first two seasons with the Heat before being dealt to Minnesota for the 2010-11 season.

Beasley, though, has regressed the past two seasons. And with Phoenix last season, he averaged career lows of 10.1 points and 3.8 rebounds. Considering players such as Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Brook Lopez and Roy Hibbert were taken after Beasley in the ’08 draft, he would have to be considered a bust.

The Suns are still on the hook to pay Beasley nearly $7 million during the next two seasons. The NBA’s version of Butthead will nonetheless have a thick wallet.

Is Beasley embarrassed? Humiliated? Has he gone into a quiet room and had a come to Jesus meeting with himself?

Who knows? But it’s probably not likely.

Beasley seems to be skipping his way through life, supported by NBA teams that think they can get him on the straight and narrow only to find out the only thing straight and narrow in Beasley’s world are the joints he rolls.

You want to take a guy like this and shake him, except he’d probably just giggle. And want a cupcake.

Beasley might be the most giddy complete failure in professional sports history. But I wonder how he feels in those fleeting moments when he’s not soaring. Does a guy like this understand the opportunity he’s letting get away?

Supposedly, Beasley grew up fine tuning his basketball skills so that one day he could reach the NBA. He was a high school phenom in Washington, D.C., and was lured to K-State by Bob Huggins, who was actually out of a coaching job when he recruited Beasley.

In Manhattan, Beasley was a phenomenon. He was the prototypical one-and-done player. Who knows what Beasley did in the classroom, if anything? Who knows what he might have gotten away with during his year at Kansas State?

He did lead the Wildcats back to the NCAA Tournament after years of futility. And that’s really all K-Staters wanted Beasley to do.

It’s hard to even associate Beasley with Kansas State now because he was there so briefly. And I can’t imagine Wildcats fans are buying Beasley jerseys at NBA.com.

It’s difficult to have compassion for Beasley because he doesn’t appear to be contrite about his issues. He’s always been aloof and disrespectful to the game of basketball and the teams that have employed him.

But as we know, you can never say never with a guy like Beasley. There might be a team out there willing to give him just one more chance.

Maybe San Antonio? Then again, how much rope would a task master like Greg Popovich give a player like Beasley?

Some general manager and coach, though, will sign Beasley, convinced they’re the ones who can finally get through to the 6-foot-9 power forward with the skills to be a star.

Skills, though, only take you so far. Every player in the NBA has skills. And most have functioning brains.

Unfortunately, Beasley’s brain is too often on drugs. Grow up, Mike.