Is Michael Beasley A Risk Worth Taking?
I received this email from Connor, a reader, wondering about Michael Beasley and the “everything must go” sale the Miami Heat are having on his behalf.
After watching the draft Thursday night and watching teams like the Bulls take desperate measures to get cap room, I thought since the Kings don’t look to be a major player in this year’s free agency could they take advantage of this? I then came across an article that the Heat are trying desperately to get rid of Michael Beasley’s contract, So wouldn’t it be a smart move for the Kings to add a young talented forward with just the cost of taking on his contract? I’m sure the Heat would have a very reduced price for Beasley. To get rid of Hinrich the Bulls threw in a 1st round pick as well. Is this scenario even conceivable? If Miami is really desperate to get rid of Beasley what is stopping the Kings from doing this?
Connor brings up an intriguing idea. Using the lure of free agency that Miami has decided to reshape their franchise with against them in order to pilfer assets from the organization. A team like the Sacramento Kings – rebuilding by acquiring young talent and future assets – is in perfect position to do something like this.
The problem though is figuring out where Michael Beasley fits in with the future of this organization. The asking price would be relatively small. The Kings would actually be doing Miami a favor by acquiring the #2 pick in the 2008 draft and absorbing his relatively small contract (two years, $11.2 million). In return, a conditional second round pick would be the likely asking price and even if it wasn’t conditional, the Kings could offer up a pick in 2015 or later when the Kings should be firmly cemented in the playoffs for years to come.
However, the Kings would have to figure out where he fits in.
The frontcourt is very loaded and primed to be a presence/strength for the Kings this year. Here’s the tentative depth chart for the small forward, power forward and center positions:
Doesn’t look like there’s a lot of room in there for a #2 pick who hasn’t even turned 22 years old yet. Michael Beasley is probably best used as a power forward and with Carl Landry, Jason Thompson and the Brockness Monster all trying to carve out playing time for their respective résumés, it seems unlikely he’d get a lot of run at the 4. And he’s obviously not a center so he’s unlikely to get any burn at the center position.
So would it behoove the Kings to acquire Michael Beasley for next to nothing and then try to slide him into the small forward position? Check out the difference between him playing the power and small forward positions (courtesy of 82games.com):
Seems like there is a pretty considerable difference with him on the wing and with him in the post. With Beasley on the wing, his shooting percentage is much lower and that probably has to do with him shooting so much from the outside and shooting so poorly. According to HoopData.com, Beasley shot just 37% on two-pointers beyond 10 feet today. He also only shot 27% from three-point land.
With him playing so far away from the basket, he seems more likely to take jumpers instead of attacking the basket. When he’s driving strong to the basket, he looks unstoppable. But he usually needs to be pretty close to the basket to get aggressive. So far in his career, he’s been far too resigned to taking contested jumpers and hoping they go in.
When you look at Synergy Sports numbers for Beasley, his most efficient ways of scoring are all heading towards the basket. He shot 67.6% in transition this year with only five attempts coming from three. He scored on 58.2% of his shots off of offensive rebounds. He made 59.6% of his shots when he cut to the basket. The guy can score and score better than most when he’s playing in a linear, progressive manner. But look at his spot-up jumpers (38.4%) and how often he took them (25.9% of his plays, which is highest percentage for any type of play) and you can see why his numbers average out to being so underwhelming.
One last thing that concerns me about Michael Beasley is his mental makeup. He’s had some issues so far heading into the league and since he’s been in the NBA. I don’t really want to get into what they are but for someone who seems to be so aloof and capable of getting depressed fairly easily, to acquire him and have him possibly sitting on the bench while a deep frontcourt hogs all of the minutes doesn’t really seem like something I’d want to experiment with him.
Look at this highlight trailer from the documentary Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot, which followed eight high school players (including Tyreke Evans and Donté Greene) leading up to an All-Star game in New York City.
First of all, it’s cool to see Lamont Peterson (Reke’s trainer) in this film because he lends a lot of great insight into the progression of Tyreke along with how the high school basketball scene treats and ranks these young players. Second, the line he gives Donté Greene before he drives to the basket and scores is pretty funny. But overall, it gives a good glimpse into the psyche of who Michael Beasley is. It doesn’t appear to have changed ALL THAT MUCH since he played in this game to going to Kansas State to spending two years in the NBA. He’s kind of a goofy guy. There’s a scene in the movie in which he purposefully films himself running into a wall. Maybe he wouldn’t be bad for team chemistry like Isaiah Rider or Zach Randolph were bad for chemistry but maybe he wouldn’t take things seriously and he’d have more of a Joey Dorsey affect.
Throwing a guy like that into a position in which he isn’t likely to excel while battling for minutes in one of the now deepest frontcourts in the NBA seems like a bad idea to me. Maybe the Kings could pursue this idea and it would work. But with the way this franchise is rebuilding itself, I just don’t find it to be a risk worth taking.