Michael Beasley is an extremely talented player, and has an array of skills not usually seen out of such a young kid. He has range out to the 3 point stripe, can finish with both hands at the rim, has impressive post up skills, and is an instinctive rebounder. But I struggle with deciding where I think he would be best used. So I'll make the case for playing him as a Power Forward (the 4) and as a Small Forward (the 3) and let us as a community figure it out.
As a Power Forward
Beasley's skills in the post project him to be a great scoring option at the 4, and his ability to face up and pull his defender out of the paint is a huge bonus. His rebounding skills also warrants keeping him near the paint to gobble up boards on offense and defense. While he may not have the size of a Garnett or Duncan, he's the same height as Boozer and similar skills as Lamar Odom, both very effective as PF's.
Match-Up's ~ At the 4, Beasley would be matched up against guys who are probably more physically imposing than him, but not as quick or as skilled. He'd be able to face up and dribble-drive by some of the lumbering PF's in the league, or just pull them out and shoot the long-range shot. He would also give us the speed advantage on fast breaks and uptempo offense because his counterpart at the 4 would usually be a big bruiser. Defensively he would be at a bit of a disadvantage, but he's improving daily, and his quick feet will help him stay in good position and challenge shots. I would worry about him getting overpowered by the bigger 4's but as he grows and matures he should have no problem holding his own.
How He Fits ~ Alongside a big, defensive-minded center, he would be a great offensive option. The floor would spread and the paint would empty because he can pull his defender all the way to the 3 point line, opening up lanes for Wade and Chalmers to slice to the basket through. And the pick-n-roll and pick-n-pop would be deadly with him and Wade, because a switch leaves Wade guarded by a plodding PF, and a double gives Beasley the option to stroke a jumper or roll to the rim and finish, both of which he is very adept at doing. We may struggle against teams with 2 Big's at the 4 and 5, because we would only have 1 True Big on the floor, but those concerns would disappear if Beasley can become a stronger paint player on offense and, more importantly, defense.
As a Small Forward
At the 3, Beasley would be a mismatch waiting to happen, because he can post a smaller defender, and use the face-up game on a larger one. He could go into the post, iso from the wing, or come off a screen and go to work. He's definitely not LeBron James or Kevin Durant, but those are freakish athletes, and Beasley, IMO could mirror Carmelo Anthony as a Small Forward. Both are extremely gifted with the ball, but not superior athletes. Both rely on an array of moves and shots to get points, and both are terrific outside shooters. Melo absolutely thrives in Denver's offense with 2 big men, a shooter, and a Lead Guard. I think Beasley could have similar production playing in the same offensive format, with 2 bigs, Chalmers as the shooter, and Wade as the lead guard.
Match-Up's ~ Some of the match-up's at the 3 would be unfavorable to anybody, like LeBron and Paul Pierce, but for the most part, Small Forwards are not Beasley's size. He would lose the quickness battle, but not by a big margin. And having 2 big guys to guard the paint would definitely help deter players from driving. At the SF spot, though, Beasley would be able to crash the boards and rack up rebounds over a smaller player. Offensively, his game is refined enough to score from many different points and in many different ways, always able to exploit whoever the defense puts on him.
How He Fits ~ We would definitely need a couple Big's, but a guy like Haslem would still fit in the starting lineup because of his defense and rebounding. Ideally, we would have an Alonzo Mourning-type Center in the paint, and a PF that can hit a long range jumper for when Beasley takes his man to the post. But MB alongside Chalmers and Wade in the backcourt would be nasty. The pick-n-roll game with Wade would work off somebody else's pick, and Beasley would spread the floor and do his damage when his defender leaves to cut off Wade's drive.
After looking at both the arguments, how do you guys see it? Would he fit better as a 4, leaving us a bit undersized vs the bigger teams? Or would he make a better 3, giving us more size but possibly shorthanded defensively? There are positives and negatives to both, but overall I think he fits better as a 4. Thoughts?