KUSA - Rookie seasons tend to include a lot of ups and downs for professional athletes, just usually not in the literal sense.
But, the highs and lows were very real for Malik Beasley of the Denver Nuggets.
The former Florida State star made a whole lot of flights to and from South Dakota and Denver this year, bouncing up and down from the Nuggets to the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the D-League over and over again.
"It was frustrating, because I saw my rookie teammates--Juancho (Hernangomez) and Jamal (Murray) playing," Beasley said. "But to see them out there playing, and me not out there, hurt a lot."
It's not uncommon for young NBA players struggling to get minutes to be sent down to the NBA's Developmental League a few times throughout the season.
But, Beasley's season was anything but common. The Nuggets guard took trips back and forth from the minors to the pros a staggering 12 times total.
That's ten more than his fellow rookies--as Hernangomez was only sent down once before being called up shortly thereafter.
Often times, these trips to and from South Dakota were less than a week long.
In one instance, Beasley got called up to the Nuggets on March 6, participated in a media event on March 8 and then was sent back down to the Skyforce on March 10.
But, when he was in the D-League, the rookie was fantastic--scoring a career-high 32 points in one game, and averaging 23.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game in his latest minor league stint of four games.
And, when he finally got some playing time with the Nuggets at the end of the season, Beasley didn't disappoint.
He scored 16 and 17 points in the last two games of the year.
"I feel like I can play in this league," Beasley said. "I've been working really hard to get to this point. And that reward was amazing for me, just to be able to play."
He'll hope to continue playing at that level next season. Hopefully for him, that's all in Denver.
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