When Michael Beasley plays basketball, he seems like the last person on the planet that would have an issue with self-confidence. The new Los Angeles Lakers forward is an isolation dynamo who has (seemingly) never met a shot he couldn’t get into a whirlwind romance with.
However, such tendencies have also seen Beasley play for seven teams in the last eight years of his career, which he described as leaving him feeling “like a battered-dog” in an incredibly honest and introspective interview with Leo Sepkowitz of Bleacher Report.
The whole experience that has made Beasley incredibly grateful to Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson for taking a chance on him:
B/R: How were your conversations with Magic Johnson and the Lakers?
Beasley: I was happy that someone trusted that I could play basketball, somebody wanted me to play basketball. Being in L.A., being with LeBron—all those things were a plus, but the way the Lakers were speaking to me on behalf of me and my game and things I can do for the Lakers, that part was overwhelming for me. Because I’ve really been at a down state in my career mentally and confidence-wise. So to reassure me that I can play basketball, the way Magic was talking—it was good to hear someone I looked up to talk about my game. Being wanted and being admired was really overwhelming.
Beasley can certainly play basketball. He not only scored more per-minute than any other bench player in the entire NBA, but the only six players in the league who outpace Beasley in that stat are also some of the NBA’s best players: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook.
Beasley isn’t as good as any of those guys, and probably never will be, but as a reserve combo-forward who will likely only get sporadic minutes, the Lakers also aren’t asking him to be.
Beasley is focused on changing the narrative surrounding these Lakers, and using his quick trigger to prop up the team’s bench offense when called upon would be a great way to not only help him find his next long-term home, but also to reward Johnson’s faith in him.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.