Thursday, September 30, 2010
Choose your Own Adventure...Put Up Or STFU
Michael Beasley (SF/PF, Minnesota, 3rd season): SO damn deadly in college, SO much debate about "Beasley vs Rose #1" in '08, SO much frustration from the staff and fans in MIA over his air-headed antics and inconsistent play. 14 and 6 isn't terrible, but when you're a #2 pick, and those numbers drop to 10 and 4 in the playoffs, that's not gonna cut it. B-Easy had plenty of chances in South Beach; maybe the lights were too bright. His immaturity is well documented, and his, um, judgement was definitely questionable in Miami, from Day 1. Now he's getting a fresh start in Minny after being jettisoned from Miami. Judging from Beasley's "T-Wolves Rule, Rest of L Drools" comments, either he's ready to live up to his potential, or he's still high.
Monta Ellis (SG, Golden State, 6th season): After 5 seasons, "breathtaking", "blazing" and "unstoppable" have been used to describe Monta, and his 25 ppg last season kinda backed all of the adjectives up. The average NBA fan is all about scoring and swagger, so to some folks, Ellis is already a bonafide star. But to me, after his injury fiasco and the crap he said about Stephen Curry, plus the fact that he played for Crazy Man Nelson thus far in his career, I'm not sure if Ellis has the mentality and the all around game to be a truly elite. Putting up numbers on a horrible team is one thing, but can he adjust his game and swallow his ego a bit to play winning ball? Playing for new coach Keith Smart and with the now known talent of Curry beside him, we'll see if Monta can be a real winner or just another undersized gunner.
Elton Brand (PF/C, Philly, 12th season): ANOTHER injury/bounce back candidate. It's sad I have to put Brand in here; EB is the one of the only Duke players I ever didn't want to punch in his face. In 2006 he was a Top PF in the league candidate; 25 and 10 with 2.5 blocks and a deadly mid-range game, and even in '07, before he Benedict Arnold'ed the Clips, he just missed the Gold Standard 20/10 (20.5/9.3). But injuries, questionable decisions, and the shadow of young gunna Marreese Speights' potential got him struggling in Philly. His 14 and 8 last year weren't terrible, but he was definitely a shadow of the Beast he was prior to signing in Philly (karma?). This year is pivotal for Brand; either he returns to dominating form and locks his spot down, or he'll fade into obscurity on one of the worse contracts in recent memory.