Heat president Pat Riley addressed that whole Mr. Beasley-goes-to-rehab thing yesterday, and professed his and the team's faith that Beasley "could be a major factor for our team" in the upcoming season.
"The last thing I'm going to do now is judge him harshly on what has happened," Riley said. "I think we're going to get a great year out of Mike. We're in contact with him every single day. [The goal remains for him] to play a prominent role, a bigger role than he played last year."
Of course, what else is he suppose to say? The Heat certainly can't afford for Beas not to work out -- their entire strategy for survival this season and keeping Dwyane Wade happy banks on major improvement from Beasley and Mario Chalmers. Riley can't very well say, "Well, I never wanted to take him in the draft, and had to be forced by ownership, and after all the babbling about Spongebob and driving everyone nuts this ridiculous kid is now setting our team back because he couldn't manage to follow the rules in outpatient participation."
That's not to say he didn't mean it. Riley, after all, has dealt with his fair share of player troubles over the years. And he offered up a rather generous view of the whole affair:
"I was told this by somebody: Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. You can't put yourself above and beyond anybody. We all have periods where things haven't gone our way for whatever reason, and we've all had an opportunity to grow. Because of what's happened in the past, we hope there's growth spurts for him."
They certainly hope part of that growth happens on the court. Beasley's stint in rehab isn't to finish until shortly before the eve of training camp, and while they have been able to direct his workouts in Houston, they haven't been able to get him in any 4-on-4 or 5-on-5 games since he earned himself an overnight.
Without a crucial month of practice, can Beasley still make the move to small forward and contribute where he's most needed?
"I think we will find out," Riley said. "...I'm going to continue to show that kind of belief and faith in him."
He doesn't have a choice there, either.
Janie Campbell wishes Pat Riley didn't have a choice but to bring in help for Dwyane Wade RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the Internet.