The Miami Heat sees Tuesday against New Orleans in the foreground of its long vision, the NBA title.
All Michael Beasley sees is Tuesday. And not just because at 5 p.m. Tuesday, due to the waiver rules, the Heat must decide whether to waive Beasley or allow his nonguaranteed, one-year contract to become guaranteed Friday.
But all Beasley sees is Tuesday because it’s Tuesday. He will have the same approach Wednesday.
“You’ve got to, especially on a nonguaranteed contract,” Beasley said. “You get complacent, you get comfortable, that’s when you start to take a couple of steps back. Coming in every day, just trying to be better than yesterday. Trying to do what the team asks — coaches and players.”
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That’s what Beasley has done and more. Nobody playing less than 20 minutes a game averages more points than Beasley’s 11.1 per game. He didn’t play a second of the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 102-97 win against Toronto, yet the Heat don’t get that win without Beasley’s 17 points in 20:20 during the first three periods having kept Toronto from shooting the Heat into too large a deficit.
Nobody has ever questioned Beasley’s offensive ability. His maturity and all-around game? That’s when basketball people shrugged, lifted eyebrows, put their palms up.
People tend to freeze perceptions on the last time someone or something existed continuously in a sphere of notice. Athletes get this treatment even more than nieces and nephews.
So, Beasley’s forever the 19-year-old the Heat drafted or the 21-year-old they traded to Minnesota during that eventful offseason week in 2010 instead of the 25-on-Thursday father of two.
“A lot more responsibilities have been put on his plate. And you can see that, even though he’s still young,’’ Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. “He’s only 24 years old. He’s also come into a team full of guys that he respects and he enjoys being around and listening to.
“It can be hard sometimes, as a young guy on the team, the older guys are always telling you what to do, maybe nine different people. It’s a good change this time around.”
Beasley’s calling card remains his offense. He extends himself on defense also and has, some nights, been an energy generator. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he had no expectations for Beasley With the Heat, Part II.
“He’s familiar with us and as soon as he became available we all wanted to bring him back, and then it was about getting him to be consistent with routine,” Spoelstra said. “We built up a very structured routine for him. Every single day of learning ... fast tracking what this group has been doing for the last three-plus years.
“He has embraced that, fully and wholeheartedly, so you’re seeing residual of all that hard work. He’s typically the first to be here and oftentimes one of the last ones to leave.”
That’s how you approach a job you like that could disappear any day. Even as teammates and Spoelstra lauded him Sunday night, Beasley looked ahead only to Monday.
“Still taking it day by day because a lot can happen between now and Tuesday,” Beasley said. “Still working hard. I’m not going to work any less come Tuesday.”