Derrick Rose or Michael Beasley?
Before the 2008 NBA Draft, that was a legitimate question for the Chicago Bulls, who had snagged the No. 1 overall pick despite having only a 1.7 percent chance of doing so. Rose was the hometown kid with freakish athleticism who had just led Memphis to within seconds of a national championship (a run which was later wiped out due to controversy surrounding Rose's SAT scores). Beasley was the stud who ran roughshod over college hoops a year after childhood friend Kevin Durant had done the same thing.
As a Bulls fan and a native of the Chicagoland area, I was always on Team Rose. But I had friends that weren't, and I understood why. Beasley's numbers at Kansas State were hard to ignore, and he seemed to have the skill set and athleticism that would translate well to the next level.
Fast-forward to the present, and things couldn't have turned out much different for Rose and Beasley.
Rose became the youngest NBA MVP ever at the age of 22 in the 2010-11 season, leading the Bulls to a league-high 62 wins and a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals. While Rose's image has taken a bit of a hit thanks to his ACL saga last season, it should soon be restored when he returns with a vengeance this upcoming year.
Then there's Beasley, whose NBA career has been rife with missteps both on the court and off it. B-Easy's latest transgression occurred on Tuesday morning in Scottsdale, where he was arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession. It's not Beasley's first marijuana incident, and it also comes while he's currently being investigated in a sexual assault case.
Beasley's latest issues could cost him some games, and he may even find himself out of a job. John Gambadoro, a sports talk radio host in Phoenix, believes the Suns will waive Beasley and use the stretch provision to minimize his cap hit.
While B-Easy has certainly been the butt of many jokes, his tale is also a sad one. So much talent wasted because he can't keep his head on straight. Unfortunately, there were some warning signs early on.
Beasley didn't grow up under the greatest circumstances, always on the move with his mother and two siblings and no father figure. Ever the prankster, B-Easy was constantly getting in trouble at school. Grades were never really a huge issue, but his immature behavior was a factor in the youngster attending seven schools in just five years.
Beasley appeared to find a home at high school basketball powerhouse Oak Hill Academy, averaging 20.1 points and 10.0 rebounds during his junior year. However, more childish pranks led to B-Easy's dismissal from Oak Hill, and he wound up at Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts.
Beasley excelled at Notre Dame Prep, and he decided to attend Kansas State without ever visiting the campus. He even admitted that he "couldn't find Kansas on a map." But he made the choice because one of his good friends, Dalonte Hill, had just been hired as an assistant coach under Bob Huggins.
Beasley somehow stayed out of trouble at Kansas State, and he blew up thanks to his amazing basketball abilities. In his college debut against Sacramento State, he put up 32 points and 24 rebounds. He had a 39-and-11 game against Kansas, a 40-and-11 performance against Missouri and a 44-and-13 outing against Baylor. Just absurd numbers.
In his one year at Kansas State, Beasley averaged 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds while shooting 53.2 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from three. Consider that those stats were BETTER than Durant's, who played in the same conference just a year earlier.
That's why Beasley and Rose were being talked about in the same breath for the No. 1 pick in 2008. That's why people such as ESPN's Scoop Jackson wrote articles asking whether teams should tank for Beasley.
But things started going downhill for Beasley almost immediately upon his arrival to the NBA. B-Easy was busted for an incident with Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur involving women and possible marijuana possession at the 2008 Rookie Transition Program, a seminar designed to teach young players how to stay out of trouble. No drugs were found, but B-Easy was fined $50,000 for his role in the incident.
A year later, B-Easy posted pictures of his back tattoos ... with marijuana possibly in the background. In 2011, two years after attending rehab, he was busted for marijuana possession. That same year, he found himself embroiled in a scandal that involved him and his family allegedly accepting illegal benefits while in high school and at Kansas State. He also got into a physical altercation with a fan at a street ball game.
On the court, Beasley showed some flashes of his vast potential. After the former No. 2 pick was traded from the Miami Heat to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2010, he posted averages of 19.2 points and 5.6 rebounds during the 2010-11 season.
However, the pot arrest followed that offseason, and Beasley's next season with the Wolves was marred by a foot injury. After signing a three-year, $18 million deal with the Suns in the summer of 2012, he proceeded to be bad on both ends of the floor for a Suns team that was one of the worst in the NBA.
And now there's this latest arrest, which could spell the end of the line for B-Easy. If the Suns do waive him, some team may still take a gamble on his talent and give him a last shot. Maybe he stays with Phoenix and he turns his career around. But it wouldn't be surprising if neither of those things happen.
Derrick Rose or Michael Beasley? The only debate now is which player was ever a bigger fan of Skittles.