Malik Beasley can become part of this story. The Chicago Bulls, after defeating the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, 115-106, own the ninth-best record in the Eastern Conference. With about half of the 2019-20 campaign in the books, they are 15-27 and sit four games back of the Brooklyn Nets for the eighth and final playoff spot. Their position in the standings is deceiving, despite what the numbers hint at, the Windy City remains destined for the lottery.
Members of Chicago’s young core have showcased a disturbing lack of development. Lauri Markkanen, the third-year forward from Finland, has been arguably one of the league’s biggest underperformers this season. After a breakout 2018-19 that saw him average 18.7 points and 9 rebounds per game, Markkanen has seen his scoring and rebounding numbers dip, along with his efficiency (15 points and 6.6 rebounds on a career-low 42.4% shooting).
Also, former Providence College standout and 2016 first-round pick Kris Dunn has taken a step back in his fourth year in the league. Dunn has seen his 3-point (24.7% on 2.3 tries) and free throw percentages (71.8%) plummet compared to his splits from just one year ago. With all this in mind, the organization should be shifting their focus towards building for the future, meaning the Bulls should pursue a trade for Denver Nuggets guard Malik Beasley.
Beasley, the fourth-year man out of Florida State University, is no longer an instrumental part of Denver’s rotation. He has been in and out of the rotation all season long, averaging just 16 minutes of play while participating in only 30 of the Nuggets’ 40 outings. Similarly to the aforementioned Markannen and Dunn on the Bulls, Beasley enjoyed the best stint of his career in 2018-19, he averaged 11.3 points on 40.2% accuracy from beyond the arc in 23.2 minutes off the bench.
The Bulls are in need of a reliable scorer who can back up their best player, Zach Lavine. Their current reserve guards Ryan Arcidiacono and Denzel Valentine have been unable to produce with much consistency. Valentine is no longer a part of Jim Boylen’s rotation, and Arcidiacono has been shooting the ball with dreadful efficiency all season long (38.6%). It is not just Chicago’s rotational guards who have endured problems putting the ball through the hoop, it is a team-wide issue. The squad ranks 25th in the NBA in points per game, mustering just 106 a night.
If the Bulls are looking for a low-cost bench contributor who can put points on the board in a hurry, Malik Beasley is their man. And with reports stating that Denver is open to dealing the swingman, Chicago would likely not have to give up much in order to acquire his services.