The renaissance of Michael Beasley is in full swing in Minnesota.
In the last three games he has put up 33, 28, and 25 points, on 56 percent shooting, and he is 6 of 9 from three. Plus he’s got that hair. He has been the focal point of the Timberwolves offense and he had the game winner against the Clippers Wednesday. On the season he is averaging 7 more points a game on the highest shooting percentages of his career. His rebounds are off slightly, but we’ll blame playing along side Kevin Love for that.
Meanwhile, Chris Bosh has had some well-publicized struggles fitting in with the Heat (at least until last night when Miami went to him early and often). The soft tag has been tossed about and at times he has looked like a third wheel.
So… no. Do not go there. Some of you have. Stop it now. The Heat should not have kept Beasley over Bosh.
The Heat getting rid of Beasley was the right thing to do for a lot of reasons. Chris Bosh is a much, much better fit in Miami. Beasley needed a fresh start, to be a big fish in a small pond where he was more of a focal point. There are more reasons. Let’s go over them.
As Zach Lowe points out a Sports Illustrated’s Point Forward, this whole Beasley/Bosh premise is faulty — Beasley was traded to make room for Mike Miller, not get in Chris Bosh. The Heat already had the big three when they moved Beasley, who will make just under $5 million this season, which cleared room for Mike Miller and his $5 million a year. And the Heat need Miller and his long ball more than they need Beasley.
Secondly, Beasley is doing his damage at the small forward spot in Minnesota. I don’t care how good he’s playing, he’s not better than the small forward Miami already has. If you played Beasley at the four (Bosh’s spot) he suddenly looks undersized, he’s having to play inside and rebound against bigger bodies rather than live on the wings like he does with the Wolves. His production would be very different because what is asked of him is different. And less to his liking.
In Minnesota, Beasley is a small big fish in a small pond — he gets the ball and gets to do what he wants. He’s averaging 17.8 field goal attempts per game. You think he gets to take shots away from LeBron and Wade to do that?
Beasley is having success getting the ball out on the wing, and right now is knocking down a lot of long two pointers, as Kevin Pelton pointed out at ESPN (Insider required). Against the Kings he hit 10 of 15 shots in the 16- to 23-foot range. Against the Knicks he was 7 of 9 from that distance, Wednesday night against the Clippers he was 6 of 10.
Those long twos are not going to keep falling at this rate. Last season Beasley shot 42 percent from that distance, this season it is 55 percent. The league average is under 40 percent. Unless Beasley has taken Dirk Nowitzki’s magic potion, he is not going to keep up this shooting pace from distance.
So Beasley is going to regress — and Bosh isn’t that bad, by the way. He’s giving you 16.4 points and six rebounds a game with an All-Star level PER of 21.4.
Sometimes, trades do work out for everyone. Beasley needed space and a new home where he could be more of the man and find himself. He lost weight, is moving better and is genuinely looking good in that role. That role was no longer available in Miami, which needed a scoring four. They got it. Bosh is good, and his shortcomings are really that he’s not a true center and the Heat need one. Different problem.
But please, do not say the Heat should have kept Beasley. They should not have. Riley made the right call.