Milwaukee Bucks: An ode to Michael Beasley

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 02: Gary Payton II
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 02: Gary Payton II /

With the news of him heading to the Big Apple, we reflect on journeyman forward Michael Beasley‘s season-long tenure with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Although the writing appeared to have been on the wall, the first official departure from last year’s Milwaukee Bucks squad has finally come this summer.

As first reported by Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders on Tuesday afternoon, Michael Beasley has signed with the New York Knicks on a one-year deal worth the veteran’s minimum at $2.1 million.

The move had been a long time coming, considering there was virtually no reports or details over whether the Bucks were interested in bringing back Beasley in some capacity. With recent reports of teams overseas, specifically in China, vying for his services and offering good money to boot, Beasley finally landed the NBA deal he desired a good month into free agency to stay stateside.

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Obviously with him leaving for less than greener pastures (this works on multiple levels, if you think about it), it puts Beasley’s time with the Bucks to a close. While his stay in Milwaukee will only be a blip on the team’s overall scope, Beasley does leave having laid an interesting mark on the current team and with Bucks fans in general.

Acquired as part of a trade that sent Tyler Ennis to the Houston Rockets, Beasley came to Milwaukee off the heels of what felt like the season sinking injury of Khris Middleton in late September of last year. While the team would later address the void left in the wake of Middleton’s injury with the acquisition of Tony Snell, it was still fair to wonder what to expect from Beasley once the regular season rolled around.

After all, Beasley’s many failed stops in the NBA throughout his career led to him flaming out and playing in China in two separate stints across two seasons. Despite eventually making his way back with the Rockets at the end of the 2015-16 season, the question Bucks fans were asking is if Beasley had really put his past mistakes behind him.

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The concerns over Beasley’s impact on the court gradually disappeared not long after the start of the season. In his consistent, but minimal role off the bench, Beasley often delivered as the offensive spark plug the Bucks needed in their second unit.

But in the rare times he was dealt a fair share of minutes, Beasley could put on a show, as he did most notably against the San Antonio Spurs on January 10 of this year.

With the team’s star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, limited to just nine minutes of action after coming down with an illness, Beasley led a marvelous comeback essentially on his own to earn a 109-107 win in what ended up being his most definitive performance in a Bucks uniform.

With Beasley supplying the results on the court for the first few months of the season, the details of his impact off the court eventually trickled out as the season went along.

Beasley was no stranger to appearing at various Bucks community events or taking part in multiple Q&A sessions on social media (and famously struggling with the world famous app, Snapchat). As ESPN’s Zach Lowe delightfully wrote about in his annual Luke Walton All-Stars piece, Beasley welcomed the role of being the wise veteran and did his part to bond with various teammates on the team’s many road trips.

Unfortunately, Beasley’s season took a turn at the end of February after he suffered a hyperextended left knee during a road tilt against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Although he later returned near the end of the regular season, Beasley’s effectiveness never returned to the level he showed in the earlier parts of the year.

No matter how Beasley’s season soured by the end, his brief time in Milwaukee was ultimately a resounding success. He posted the most efficient season of his career by multiple measures, stepped up under unusual circumstances and helped provide the veteran presence that we’ve seen in prior years with the likes of Zaza Pachulia, Jared Dudley and Jerry Stackhouse, just to name a few.

Overall, Beasley is the perfect example of placing hasty preconceived notions on a signing or addition your favorite team made well before he steps on the court for a game.

His impact may not have been on the level of an Antetokounmpo or even Middleton once he returned from injury midway through the season last year, but he nonetheless performed beyond the unfair expectations some fans collectively placed upon his arrival almost 11 months ago (coughs very boisterously and quickly raises hand).

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Though nothing is guaranteed as to whether Beasley can replicate the success of last season during his time in New York or potentially elsewhere in the future, he certainly left behind an indelible legacy while in Milwaukee, one that could only be described as super cool.