June 26, 2008

Heat show its hot for Beasley

There was pre-draft smoke. But in the end, Michael Beasley stood on stage in his purple tie with sizzle in his electric smile. Wearing a Miami Heat ball cap embroidered with the franchise's newly unveiled secondary logo "MH" - the initials might as well now stand for "Michael's House" - the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft could clearly see the starting line by which he might launch himself into orbit at this "next level" behind his deft scoring ability and marketable personality.

Shaq coined the million-dollar smile. But shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday, the 19-year-old Beasley unveiled his million-dollar snarl to the world while he basked in his moment amid chants of "BEASLEY! BEASLEY! BEASLEY!" at the WaMu Theatre at Madison Square Garden.

"Anything can happen in the draft," Beasley told millions of viewers on ESPN. "Just to be here right now makes me a whole lot happier."

Turned out the Heat's tactic to bring Southern California's O.J. Mayo to Miami for a second time on Tuesday was nothing more than a smoke screen spurred by wily veteran head coach Pat Riley and the organization's front office to stir the pre-draft drama and cast some doubt before fireworks erupted inside the Miami draft party Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena.

"The people who I listen to about personnel more than anybody else got me into a room and made sure that Mr. Beasley was going to be a part of the Miami Heat," Riley said on ESPN immediately after the selection. "I don't think there was really any question on our part. We love Michael. He's an incredible athlete. He's a great scorer. I don't even want to get into talking about the numbers that we've analyzed. I mean, they're really off the charts.

"He's a young player and we hope he matures really quickly. We feel like we have the infrastructure and organization to help him do that."

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