A Daily Babble Production
It took them each three tries, but on Saturday night, the top two picks of the 2008 draft broke 20 points in a game for the first time as pros. And they did it in style.
The Bulls' Derrick Rose went for 26 points on 11-for-20 shooting as Chicago outscored Memphis by 18 in the second half en route to a 10-point victory. Michael Beasley's Heat weren't as successful in Charlotte, but that was certainly through no fault of his at the offensive end. Beasley went 10-for-16 from the floor to pour in 25 points. In both cases, each player was clearly the most dynamic on the floor for his team, showing off the tools that should be harbingers of highly productive careers to come.
Rose spent the evening tearing up the Grizzlies' defense with his quick first step and a finishing strength around the basket that already appears to be one-of-a-kind among point guards. As the Celtics saw in flashes the night before, Rose just seems to blast off once he gets anywhere near the rim. He uses the window very well from all angles and won't shy away from throwing down occasionally either. On Saturday, he caught the ball in the paint off a cut, jumped off two feet and just pounded the ball through the cylinder. He already looks comfortable attacking the basket with both hands, and though he went for just three assists on Saturday, distributing looks to be no problem either. He is just 6-foot-3 and 10 pounds shy of 200, but explosive is the buzz word that jumps to mind watching Rose play.
On the other hand, it's the grace of the 6-foot-9, 245-pound Beasley that astonishes. The guy just makes the game look so easy. While the Heat struggled throughout a 13-point loss on Saturday night, the Bobcats seemed incapable of forcing Beasley off track throughout the evening. He pulled up from the top of the key and wings and knocked down jumpers from mid-range with that sweet overhead lefty stroke of his. That set him up to take the ball to the rack, which he did (and routinely does) with a smoothness that belies his size. Beasley calmly slipped through defenders to get into the paint and finish lay-ups and floaters with his soft lefty touch. For one night - and it could well be the first of many - Michael Beasley made scoring against NBA defenses look just as easy as he did scoring on Big XII stoppers during his year at Kansas State University.
Saturday night marked an initial coming-out party for each of the first two picks of the 2008 NBA draft. Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley showed off their speed, strength, touch and grace en route to big nights at the offensive end. It was the first time each player put up 20 points in a pro game, but barring unseen catastrophe, it assuredly won't be the last.