The Los Angeles Lakers have seen an influx of new faces these last few months. Not only did they sign LeBron James, the biggest fish in free agency and best player on the planet, but they also landed savvy veterans in Rajon Rondo, Javale McGee, and Lance Stephenson to join their young core of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart.
But, arguably the most underrated signing they had comes in the form of Michael Beasley.
The former #2 overall pick saw a resurgence with the New York Knicks last season, averaging 13.2 points and 5.6 rebounds. When Kristaps Porzingis went down with an ACL injury in early February, Beasley stepped up and became a major cog in the Knicks’ offensive scheme.
In 27 games, he increased his statistics to 14.3 points on 48% shooting while also contributing 6.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 0.5 steals per game. Best of all, he served as New York’s primary, and sometimes only, scoring option.
After playing for the Shandong Golden Stars in the CBA, the Houston Rockets, and the Milwaukee Bucks over the last 3 seasons, it was widely believe that Beasley finally found a permanent home last season. To the surprise of many, the Knicks did not show much interest in free agency, instead choosing to invest in younger players.
This paved the way for Beasley to sign a 1-year, $3.5 million contract to play for Los Angeles.
While the Lakers do have great depth at both forward spots, Michael Beasley should find great success in Luke Walton’s up-tempo and position-less system.
For one, Beasley is a natural scorer who can create his own shot. When he comes off the bench playing behind James and Ingram, he’ll be able to punish second-unit players on other teams with a series of post moves, drives, and a deadly mid-range jumper. Additionally, he should develop solid chemistry with Kyle Kuzma as a formidable one-two combo.
In the past, Beasley has shown that he doesn’t need to play a ton of minutes to score a lot of points. For his career, he has per-36 minute statistics of 19.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, two assists, and almost a steal and a block per game. Assuming he gets minutes in the mid-teens, its possible he averages close to 10 points and four rebounds a contest in 2018-19. This is huge, as it gives the Lakers another source of offense while the starters are resting.
At 6-foot-9 and about 240 pounds, B-Easy is large enough to be a small forward, power forward, or even a small-ball center. Beasley is athletic enough to run and floor and use his speed against slower opponents while also overpowering lighter players. He is a perfect example of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka’s vision of an individual who can play multiple positions and switch off defensively at any given time.
Finally, Beasley has been in the league for 10 years, and to say he’s been through a lot is a gross underestimate. Say what you will about his character, but he possesses the experience to guide LA’s younger player into becoming true professionals of the game. He’ll also serve as a mentor who pushes each one to give their best in practice, as well as in big games.
People – most especially the fans, teams, and players – have surely taken notice to the Los Angeles Lakers’ offseason resume. They may have other, more notable players on the roster, but I believe Beasley will be a solid contributor for this franchise.
Right now, we can only speculate as to what will transpire, but as far as I’m concerned, the $3.5 million the Lakers spent on Michael Beasley will pay great dividends throughout this upcoming season as LA’s secret weapon off the bench.