Knicks' Michael Beasley says he's as talented as LeBron James and Kevin Durant

Once upon a time, New York Knicks forward Michael Beasley was a can't-miss NBA prospect in the conversation to be the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2008. The Bulls ended up taking hometown boy Derrick Rose with the top pick, but Beasley -- a 6-foot-9 lefty with guard skills and a sweet shooting stroke -- was the easy choice for the Heat at No. 2.

As we all know, Beasley's career hasn't turned out quite the way we expected ... or the way he hoped. Myriad off-court issues slowed Beasley's development, and eventually he dropped out of the league. A couple of seasons in China helped him get back into the NBA, and he's become a productive bench player in recent years.

If you ask Beasley, however, his talent is still on par with the league's best players.

"As far as talent-wise, I match up with Kevin [Durant], LeBron [James], I match up with the best guys in the world," Beasley told Bleacher Report's Yaron Weitzman. "I'm not being cocky; it's just always how I felt. But I got into trouble as soon as I got into the NBA, and it left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths."

We all know NBA players have to be extremely confident to compete night in and night out, but this is some next-level swagger from Beasley. Then again, we shouldn't really be surprised -- this is the man who tried to school us all on the myth of brain-use percentages.

Beasley has averaged 17.1 minutes per game over the past two seasons with the Houston Rockets and the Milwaukee Bucks, but his per-36 minute averages have been more than respectable (21.7 points, 8.1 rebounds, 53 percent field goals, 40 percent on 3-pointers). He could be in line to get more playing time with the Carmelo Anthony-less Knicks this season, so we might get a chance to see if Beasley can sustain that level of production over more minutes.

It's safe to say, however, that even at his best he won't come close to approaching the productivity of LeBron James or Kevin Durant.

Wink of the CBS eye to theScore

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