BEASUS.

Here’s the thing. Both Miami HEAT and Kansas State fans know all about Michael Beasley. He is an enigma. But what if things turned out differently for the controversial offensive talent? Could history have changed for the better, or for the worse? Join me in fantasy land as we explore the suspension of reality. Many liberties are about to be taken with revisionist history, but it is always fun to look at how thing may have turned out. Behold the play-by-play as it happened (in an alternate universe). Behold The Beasley Dynasty.


On June 26, 2008, Michael Beasley is drafted #2 overall by the Miami HEAT. That summer, Beasley takes part in a solid NBA Rookie Transition Program and emerges among one of the more popular players in the camp. The HEAT, properly equipped with a complete understanding of Beasley’s strengths and weaknesses, put him through an intensive camp focusing primarily on defense, ball-movement, and on-court discipline. That offseason, Miami signs free agent forward James Jones, center Jamaal Magloire, guard Shaun Livingston, and guard Yakhouba Diawara.

Rookie Season [08-09]

PG: Mario Chalmers – Chris Quinn – Marcus Banks – Shaun Livingston
SG: Dwyane Wade – James Jones – Daequan Cook
SF: Shawn Marion – Dorell Wright – Yakhouba Diawara
PF: Michael Beasley – Joel Anthony
C: Udonis Haslem – Mark Blount – Jamaal Magloire

Entering the season with the trust of rookie coach Erik Spoelstra and the rest of the staff following a strong preseason showing, Michael Beasley is named the starting small forward alongside Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, Shawn Marion, and Udonis Haslem, and registers 21 points and 11 rebounds in a 124-113 opening night victory over the New York Knicks. Strengthened by his debut performance, Beasley rides the momentum for the rest of the season and helps a determined Wade and the HEAT to an impressive 54-28 record, bolstered by a midseason trade in which Shawn Marion is eventually traded to Toronto for center Jermaine O’Neal.

The trade would allow Beasley to move to his more natural small forward position, giving rookie head coach Erik Spoelstra the opportunity to trot out a more traditional lineup of Chalmers, Wade, Beasley, Haslem, and O’Neal. Selected to the NBA Rising Stars Challenge, Beasley wins the Rising Stars MVP after scoring 45 points in a victorious duel with sophomore Kevin Durant, helping . The 37-game turnaround is second in NBA history to the 07-08 Boston Celtics.

PG: Mario Chalmers – Chris Quinn – Shaun Livingston
SG: Dwyane Wade – James Jones –  Daequan Cook
SF: Michael Beasley – Jamario Moon – Yakhouba Diawara
PF: Udonis Haslem – Joel Anthony – Mark Blount
C: Jermaine O’Neal – Jamaal Magloire

Beasley, after finishing the regular season as a resurgent Wade’s protege and running mate-in-the-making, wins Rookie of the Year honors after averaging 18.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists a game. Spoelstra wins Coach of the Year. The HEAT earn the 3rd seed and, led by a solid trio of Wade, Beasley, and O’Neal. The HEAT advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals and even take a 2-1 series lead behind 41 points from Wade in a Game 1 upset and 34 points from Beasley in Game 3, but are eventually defeated 4 games to 3 by the Cleveland Cavaliers after O’Neal bruises his left knee in Game 4 and suffers a concussion in the 3rd quarter of Miami’s Game 6 overtime victory.

Beasley attempts to shoulder some of the load in Game 7, scoring 35 points to supplement Wade’s 42, but an ineffective bench [10 points] and poor shooting night [2-11] from Chalmers and Haslem [0-7] doom the HEAT to a 112-92 Game 7 loss in Cleveland. LeBron James records a triple-double [32-13-10] in the finale.

Despite the unfortunate finish, Dwyane Wade wins the league’s MVP award [receiving it before Game 3 in Miami] after an impressive regular season campaign, averaging 30.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 7.5 apg, 2.2 spg, and 1.3 bpg in 36.3 mpg, while shooting 51.2% from the field and 31.7% from deep. This would also be the first season in Wade’s career in which he would play all 82 games.

Later that year, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol lead the Los Angeles Lakers win their first NBA title in seven years over the Cavs, defeating them in a hard-fought, highly-rated seven-game series in which no team won consecutive games. Kobe Bryant wins his first career NBA Finals MVP award.

That summer, the HEAT drafts Wesley Matthews 43rd overall. Pat Riley re-signs James Jones and signs Rafer Alston, Carlos Arroyo, and Juwan Howard to one-year deals with the 2010 free agent sweepstakes in mind. Mark Blount is traded to the New Jersey Nets for a 2012 second-round draft pick.

Sophomore Season [09-10]

PG: Mario Chalmers – Rafer Alston – Carlos Arroyo
SG: Dwyane Wade – Wesley Matthews – Daequan Cook
SF: Michael Beasley – Dorell Wright – James Jones
PF: Udonis Haslem – Juwan Howard – Shavlik Randolph
C: Jermaine O’Neal – Joel Anthony – Jamaal Magloire

Miami, building upon the successes of the previous season, continue to compete hard in the Eastern Conference; unfortunately, the team is marred by injuries to Jermaine O’Neal, Joel Anthony, and Mario Chalmers throughout the season, but the team still manages to salvage a solid 49-33 record, good for 5th in the Eastern Conference behind Cleveland, Boston, Atlanta, and Orlando. Meanwhile, LeBron leads the Cavaliers to an impressive 67-15 record and is awarded his first career regular season MVP award. Wade finishes second in MVP voting after posting numbers of 28.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 6.5 apg, 1.8 spg, and 1.1 bpg.

Cleveland manages to acquire Amare Stoudemire at the deadline, essentially guaranteeing that LeBron James remains in Cleveland for the next five years. Despite a fantastic regular season campaign, the Cavaliers are upset in seven-games by the Boston Celtics, who go on to the NBA Finals where the Lakers are able to exact revenge for their 2008 finals loss, defeating Boston in a classic seven-game series rematch of their own. Despite a solid performance from Beasley [22.3 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 3.5 apg], Miami loses a tough seven-game first round series to the Boston Celtics, after which Dwyane Wade vows “never to lose in the first round again.” Michael Beasley improves on last season’s performance, registering 21.3 points and 9.4 rebounds a game as one of the league’s best young small forwards.

Summer 2010

In the summer of 2010, Pat Riley successfully pulls off an impressive free agency haul, selling players on a core of Dwyane Wade and Michael Beasley to build around. Miami drafts Hassan Whiteside 32nd overall as a young project to develop in the coming seasons, and then allows Jermaine O’Neal to leave in free agency without making a formal contract offer. He later signs with the Celtics, playing 71 games for them before dislocating his left knee and missing the remainder of the season.

Miami is then able to lure Chris Bosh away from Toronto, securing the most coveted power forward on the market with a maximum deal. With a core of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Michael Beasley established, Miami then re-signs an injury-free Dorell Wright, Udonis Haslem, Jamaal Magloire, Joel Anthony, Juwan Howard, James Jones, and Carlos Arroyo. Daequan Cook is traded to Orlando for a future second round pick.

LeBron James, Amare Stoudemire, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas re-sign with the Cavaliers; Cleveland then trades Sebastian Telfair and Delonte West to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Ryan Hollins, Ramon Sessions, and a 2013 second round draft pick. Jamario Moon and Mo Williams are traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for Baron Davis and a 2011 first round draft pick, which eventually becomes point guard Kyrie Irving.

With Wade, Bosh, and Beasley in tow, Pat Riley then has a private meeting with disgruntled former center Shaquille O’Neal, and the two mend fences over past disputes. O’Neal then re-signs with the Miami HEAT and becomes their starting center, undergoing an intensive summer training regimen for one last run at an NBA championship. With O’Neal in Miami and the roster rounding into form as a formidable one, Pat Riley is able to bring in a rejuvenated Tracy McGrady as a backup swingman.

Third Season [10-11]

PG: Mario Chalmers – Steve Blake – Carlos Arroyo
SG: Dwyane Wade – Tracy McGradyWesley Matthews
SF: Michael Beasley – Dorell Wright – James Jones
PF: Chris Bosh – Udonis Haslem – Juwan Howard
C: Shaquille O’Neal – Jamaal Magloire – Hassan Whiteside

Completely retooled, Miami explodes out of the gate with a 17-3 record and establishes a season-long rivalry with the Cleveland Cavaliers, each of them winning more than 60 games (Miami 64, Cleveland 61) in the regular season. Wade, Bosh, and Beasley form a potent Big Three in the Eastern Conference, bolstered by the steady resurgence of a healthy Shaquille O’Neal, solid PG in Mario Chalmers, and what would eventually be known as the Miami Mafia in Steve Blake, Tracy McGrady, Dorell Wright, Udonis Haslem, and Jamaal Magloire off the bench. Tracy McGrady wins the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award.

With Miami atop the Eastern Conference for the first time since 2005, Dwyane Wade would win his second Most Valuable Player award with averages of 27.5 points, 8.2 assists, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.2 steals. Chris Bosh would turn in a solid campaign, averaging 22.1 points and 11.5 rebounds, and Michael Beasley would average 17.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists. Shaquille O’Neal would turn in a solid season, averaging 13.7 points and 11.3 rebounds, averaging a double-double for the first time since his first season with the HEAT. Mario Chalmers, rounding into form as an all-around defensive point guard, would average 11.1 points, 5.7 assists, and 2.7 steals a game.

In what would go down as one of the greatest series of all time, the HEAT would exact revenge for its 2009 defeat in Cleveland, defeating LeBron and the Cavs in a closely-contested seven-game series, with Wade and James guarding each other down the stretch and exchanging baskets before a key Michael Beasley steal and score widened the gap with under 20 seconds remaining in Game 7 to put Miami ahead for good. Beasley would finish with 27 points and 8 rebounds on the night.

Miami would then take on a surging Dallas Mavericks team fresh off an upset 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers; undeterred, Wade would turn in another NBA Finals series for the ages, averaging 33.7 points, 8.5 assists, and 7.7 rebounds. Even with Bosh’s performance pacing the team throughout the six-game series, Michael Beasley would become a superstar in his own right (in just his third season) after helping Miami come back from a 12-point deficit in the 4th quarter of Game 6, finishing the game with 29 points and 15 rebounds. Dwyane Wade would win his second NBA Finals MVP.

Fourth Season [11-12]

With the Indiana Pacers establishing a core of Paul George, David West and Roy Hibbert; Miami with Wade, Bosh and Beasley; Cleveland with LeBron, Stoudemire, and Kyrie Irving; Boston with the aging trio of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen; Chicago with Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah; Atlanta with Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Al Horford; and Orlando with Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, and Ryan Anderson, the Eastern Conference would become loaded.

Coming off its first NBA Championship since 2006, Miami would be able to make slight tweaks to its roster, drafting former high school standout forward Jeremy Tyler 28th and Washington PG Isaiah Thomas 45th overall. In July, Miami signs 37-year old Marcus Camby to bolster its front court in the wake of Jamaal Magloire’s retirement.

PG: Mario Chalmers – Steve Blake – Isaiah Thomas
SG: Dwyane Wade – Tracy McGradyWesley Matthews
SF: Michael Beasley – Dorell Wright – James Jones
PF: Chris Bosh – Udonis Haslem – Jeremy Tyler
C: Shaquille O’NealHassan WhitesideMarcus Camby

However, the 2011 lockout would put things on hold until mid-December, finally beginning with a Christmas Day rematch between the Miami HEAT and Dallas Mavericks, which Miami would win easily led by Michael Beasley’s 31 points and 12 rebounds and Chris Bosh’s 25 points and 9 rebounds. Dwyane Wade would register his first Christmas Day triple-double, scoring 19 points with 11 assists and 10 rebounds.

With Miami, Cleveland, and Chicago atop the Eastern Conference, Miami would, for the first time, send three players to the NBA All-Star Game: Wade, Beasley, and Bosh, with Wade and Bosh starting. Whiteside and Beasley (again) would be invited to the NBA Rising Stars Challenge, with Whiteside wowing spectators with 17 points, 15 rebounds, and 13 blocks. Despite being plagued by injuries throughout the season, Shaquille O’Neal would manage to turn in a respectable 7.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2 blocks a game in 20 minutes off the bench; by this time, Hassan Whiteside would rapidly develop into the team’s starting center, entering the national spotlight once more with an incredible 17 point, 15 rebound, 13 block performance against the Los Angeles Lakers.

This season, second-year guard Wesley Matthews would begin to split time with the aging Tracy McGrady for minutes at the backup SG spot, and Beasley’s responsibilities in the offense would grow substantially in order to preserve Wade’s minutes for the playoffs. Beasley would respond with his best season to date, averaging a career high 25.2 points and 10.2 rebounds a game while shooting a career-best 47.4% from the field.

With the rise of Michael Beasley, continued excellence of Chris Bosh, steady growth of Hassan Whiteside steadied by Udonis Haslem and Shaquille O’Neal off the bench, and consistent contributions from Chalmers, Blake, Wright, and Matthews, Miami would finish atop the Eastern Conference once again with an incredible 60-6 record.

Wesley Matthews would win the Most Improved Player award and Miami would again send three players to the All Star Game. Riding high off the recently-concluded winning streak, Miami would sweep its way through the NBA Playoffs, first defeating the Philadelphia 76ers (4-0), Chicago Bulls (4-0), and Cleveland Cavaliers (4-0) in an absolute dismantling of the Eastern Conference.

Miami would face an upstart Oklahoma City Thunder squad starring Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden in the 2012 NBA Finals; undaunted, the trio of Wade, Beasley, and Bosh would completely dismantle the Thunder 4-0 and become the first team in NBA history to complete a playoff campaign undefeated. Michael Beasley would average 33.2 points, 13.4 rebounds, and 5.2 assists a game en route to a dominant NBA Finals and first NBA Finals MVP award.

Finally winning his fifth title, Shaquille O’Neal would retire that summer, turning the keys to the paint over to a rapidly-blossoming Hassan Whiteside. With O’Neal retired, Erik Spoelstra would completely overhaul the offense to suit a more run-oriented strategy.

Fifth Season [12-13]

Miami would then select forward Draymond Green 27th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft, claim Chris Andersen off waivers, sign guard Kent Bazemore to a make-good summer league contract, and sign the legendary point guard Jason Kidd in free agency. Demonstrating significant improvements over the course of the previous season and in summer league, Jeremy Tyler would move ahead of Udonis Haslem in the depth chart.

PG: Mario Chalmers – Jason Kidd – Isaiah Thomas
SG: Dwyane Wade – Wesley MatthewsKent Bazemore
SF: Michael Beasley – Tracy McGradyDraymond Green
PF: Chris Bosh – Jeremy Tyler – Udonis Haslem
C: Hassan Whiteside – Marcus Camby – Chris Andersen

Miami’s natural progression would see a youth movement taking place from within; Dwyane Wade, now 31 years old, would be surrounded by young talent such as perennial All-Star Chris Bosh (27), rising superstar Michael Beasley (24), steady PG Mario Chalmers (26), backup guard Wesley Matthews (26), backup forwards Jeremy Tyler (21) and Draymond Green (22), Kent Bazemore (23), and rising center Hassan Whiteside (23). Miami’s veterans would include Jason Kidd, Tracy McGrady, Udonis Haslem, Marcus Camby, and Chris Andersen.

With a renewed focus on remaining fresh for the postseason, Coach Spoelstra would shift the offensive focus away from Wade and more towards Beasley, Bosh, and Whiteside. The 12-13 season would be a coming out party for Michael Beasley, as he would post career-best numbers of 29.8 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 6.1 apg, while shooting an efficient 54.2% from the field.

The HEAT would continue to ride the talents of its big three to another top seed in the Eastern Conference, as Wade and Bosh would continue to post steady numbers; Mario Chalmers, aided by the guidance of Jason Kidd, would round into form as one of the best young PGs in the league; and Hassan Whiteside would emerge as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, posting solid numbers of 13.5 points, 14.4 rpg, and 4.2 bpg. Beasley would be named an All-Star starter for the first time in his career, alongside Rajon Rondo, Wade, LeBron, and Carmelo Anthony.

At 24 years of age, Beasley would win his second league MVP award, surprisingly outpacing the likes of LeBron, a rising Kevin Durant, and his own teammate Dwyane Wade [23.5 ppg, 7.5 apg, 5.2 rpg]. Miami’s season would be one to remember, as they would make history with a modern-era record 27-game winning streak and their their third straight Eastern Conference Championship with a 68-14 record, good for home court advantage throughout the 2013 NBA Playoffs.

During the streak, Beasley would score a career-high 55 points vs. the Celtics in a thrilling come-from-behind OT victory. Miami would continue its dominance over the conference, defeating Charlotte 4-1, Boston 4-2, and Cleveland once more, 4-2, before encountering the Los Angeles Lakers in a highly touted matchup of Kobe vs. Wade.

The 2013 NBA Finals between the HEAT and the Lakers would be special, in that there would be multiple match ups in this series: Dwyane Wade vs. Kobe Bryant; Mario Chalmers vs. Steve Nash; Michael Beasley vs. Carmelo Anthony; Chris Bosh vs. Pau Gasol; and Hassan Whiteside vs. Andrew Bynum. The teams would play each other to an absolute standstill through six games before a Carmelo Anthony injury would give way to  a shootout for the ages in Miami between Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade.

In what would go down as one of the greatest NBA Finals games of all time, the two players would exchange baskets all night, each scoring more than 40 points, before a last-second Andrew Bynum put-back with 8.4 seconds to play tied the score at 115. Game 7 and the NBA title would come down to Dwyane Wade attacking the basket, losing the ball, Beasley recovering it and kicking it out to a floating Chris Bosh, who would drill the game-winning three pointer as time expired, the ball bouncing three times above the rim as before falling through the net.

For the first time in NBA history, a championship would be decided on a buzzer-beating shot, and Chris Bosh, long-overlooked dating back to his days as a Toronto Raptor, would redeem himself in front of the world. Triumphant, Michael Beasley would win his second Finals MVP after averaging 27.9 ppg, 12.7 rpg, and 5.5 apg, all but assuring his role as the future of the HEAT for years to come.

2013-14

That summer, the HEAT would trade their first round pick for cash considerations in order to save money for the upcoming deals of Beasley and Whiteside, instead opting to sign Derek Fisher, Wesley Johnson and center Ronny Turiaf to replace the retiring Jason Kidd, Tracy McGrady and Marcus Camby.

PG: Mario Chalmers – Isaiah ThomasDerek Fisher
SG: Dwyane Wade – Wesley MatthewsKent Bazemore
SF: Michael BeasleyDraymond GreenWesley Johnson
PF: Chris Bosh – Jeremy Tyler – Udonis Haslem
C: Hassan Whiteside – Chris Andersen – Ronny Turiaf

During the 2013-14 season, despite of the emergence of Hassan Whiteside alongside Beasley, Wade, and Bosh, the HEAT would fail to win their fourth consecutive championship, as a determined LeBron James would lead the Cavaliers to their first championship in franchise history, defeating Miami in another hard-fought seven-game series, followed by the San Antonio Spurs 4-3, exacting revenge for San Antonio’s sweep of the Cavaliers in 2007.

In what would be one of the most exciting finishes of all time, the Spurs would take a 94-89 lead with 28.5 seconds to play in Game 7, only for an improbable Cavs comeback to take place to force overtime, first with a desperation Lebron three with 19.2 seconds left, followed by a miracle Ray Allen three to tie the game with 0.2 seconds left. LeBron would score eight points in the overtime period to finish with 50, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, and earn the Finals MVP.

LeBron James’ reign atop the NBA would not last long, as Beasley would lead the HEAT back to the NBA Finals (and the title) the very next year.


Hey, a man can dream, right?

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