In an interesting turn of events, Michael Beasley went from being released by a lottery team (Phoenix Suns) to signing with the back-to-back NBA Champion Miami Heat. As you know, the Heat selected Beasley with their #2 overall pick in the 2008 Draft, but traded him after two subpar seasons in Miami to clear room to sign Mike Miller alongside James, Bosh, and Wade.
Now, Mike Miller has been amnestied, and Beasley has been signed to a non-guaranteed one-year contract. This is nothing more at this point than a chance for Beasley to come to training camp and prove he can help this team. This is about as low as a risk as a team could take. But is also has a very high reward potential, something we hear a lot, because Beasley has always been a skilled offensive player and he is only 24 years old.
From the outside, it seems like it makes a lot of sense. The Heat already have 13 guaranteed roster spots, leaving 2 available for the season, and many of their players are aging. Beasley would bring some youth that would only be rivaled by Norris Cole. With the departure of Miller, there will also be some significant minutes to be filled. Miller may not have played much during the season, but he was crucial to the playoff run, even starting half of the NBA Finals.
So there is room for Beasley to slide into some playing time. Here's what the Heat's depth chart of rotation players looks like before Beasley:
Obviously, there is still Rashard Lewis, Greg Oden, Joel Anthony, and James Jones - but none of them are rotation players yet. And as you can see, there is an open spot behind Udonis Haslem in the depth chart.
But the problem is that Spoelstra doesn't just use standard rotations. He will go without a point guard, move LeBron to power forward, or play Wade and Allen together, it's all a beautiful masterpiece, and a mess to figure out. It's hard to determine where Beasley would slide in.
There is one thing that we do know. Beasley can only play two positions - small forward and power forward. Over the past few seasons, we have seen the Heat struggle to score when LeBron James is out of the game for an extended amount of time. The one thing Beasley can do - score! He may not be a good defender or rebounder but he can score. He could provide some additional scoring punch alongside all the other talented pieces Miami has.
But where? It will be a hard adjustment for Spoelstra to allow Beasley to get minutes. And remember, this is all predicated on the fact that he makes the team and gets minutes. A lot of unknowns. But let's say for the sake of discussion that Beasley gets his head on straight and plays Heat basketball.
There are two likely candidates to see reduced time to allow for Beasley to get some minutes.
Battier just turned 35 years old, and although he said he wants to finish strong, you can see him slowing down season by season. Battier is still very valuable to this team, and all I would suggest is maybe slicing Battier's minutes by 3-4 a game to allow some Beasley time. Beasley can't do the things Shane can do. He isn't the defender like Shane is and he certainly isn't as reliable from three. But Beasley would be able to take the ball on offense and create unlike Shane.
I hate to say it, but this is where the debate will go. Haslem already had his minutes reduced to a career low last season, under 19 MPG. Haslem gave up his starting role to Beasley in 2009-10 and didn't get it back until this past season. Haslem has always been supportive of Beasley, and no one would suggest that Beasley takes Haslem's starting spot - that would be ludicrous at this point. But, in order for Beasley to play, someone will need to take some less minutes. The Heat would suffer in rebounding by making this adjustment. Miller averaged 15 minutes a game last season, but only played in 59 games. If Beasley is going to be a consistent rotational player unlike Miller, Haslem will need to sacrifice again.
Chances are likely that Beasley becomes a piece like Mike Miller. He will be used sometimes, sometimes not. He will have really encouraging games, and games where you scratch your head. That is the most likely scenario at this point in the game. And we haven't even begun to find minutes for the Heat to try playing Greg Oden.
Spoelstra has a lot of talented players that can contribute and it will be his job to find a way to get the most out of everyone. I do believe Beasley will help the Heat. The veteran leadership of the team should be something that helps Michael turn his career around. But it's all up to him.
What do you think?
Where would you like to see Michael Beasley fit into the rotation?
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