Erik Spoelstra and Miami Heat Must Give Michael Beasley Bigger Opportunity

By Shane Phillips
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dwyane Wade‘s ongoing battle with his bruised and battered knees is no secret to the NBA. The All-Star guard has been plagued by bad knees since the 2008-09 season when Wade first underwent Ossa-Tron Shock treatment. After the completion of the Miami Heat‘s second straight championship, Wade underwent the treatment again, but the bounce-back time has taken a bit longer than expected or hoped.

The never-ending saga of Wade’s knees has left Miami and Erik Spoelstra little choice other than to rest Wade whenever needed. Friday night was one of those moments. As Wade was left useless and helpless on the bench, he could only watch the Sacramento Kings eat into the Heat lead and eventually slay the giant in overtime, 108-103.

The loss dropped the defending champs to 4-4 without Wade and 22-7 overall. The Heat sit comfortably in second place in the Eastern Conference, but the troubling part is that all four losses without Wade were to sub-.500 teams. Spoelstra and Pat Riley knew that Wade would miss a significant handful of games, but they didn’t know that they would struggle to find an adequate backup.

Spoelstra has tried a few different players in Wade’s spot, but no one has been consistent enough. James Jones had one fantastic performance and then fell flat in his second start. Ray Allen seems like a smart choice, however, he has been rather hit or miss this season. It just doesn’t seem like Miami has a solution to Wade’s much-needed off-days.

Wait! The answer to Wade’s absences has been in South Beach all along and his name is Michael Beasley. Once the bane of David Stern and the league, Beasley has transformed himself and turned around his career. I know that Spoelstra wants to take his time and tread lightly with the former Kansas State Wildcat, but we are over a quarter into the season and Beasley hasn’t been given a shot at the starting lineup.

Spoelstra’s approach is understandable and respectable, considering Beasley’s history. The head coach has kept the small forward on a short leash in an attempt to humble and straighten him out. There is always a chance that Beasley could relapse back to his underachieving, overrated ways, but give the guy a chance. He is currently averaging 11 points a game, fourth on the team only to the “Big 3”, and grabs around four rebounds per outing.

Honestly, I would start Beasley every time Wade is out, and I would even consider starting him instead of Shane Battier or Udonis Haslem. Beasley is a scoring threat from anywhere on the floor and allows Miami more options on offense. The biggest complaint I have or have heard about the former second overall pick is his defense. Beasley will give up a bit on the defensive end of the court, but he will make up for it on offense.

I applaud Spoelstra and the way he has handled Beasley, but now give him a shot. No one on the roster has proved to be a worthy replacement for Wade, and there is no point in a trade when the answer to the problem is right there. Beasley will give Miami another threat on the floor, a bit more size and increased rebounding activity. Spoelstra might as well start him now. With over half the season remaining there is plenty of time for experiments, and Beasley in the starting lineup is a worthwhile endeavor.

Shane Phillips is a Miami Heat Writer for Follow Shane on Twitter @Smphil01, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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