It’s difficult to find something that needs to be fixed with the 24-7 Miami Heat. They will continue to have a size deficiency and struggle against teams with a big center. One problem that can be fixed however, is their inability to cover the other team’s power forward and still provide a matchup problem when they are on offense.
While Miami loves having Shane Battier in the lineup because of his ability to take charges and set the tone on defense, his shot has not been falling so they haven’t been able to get that mismatch on the offensive end. One solution could be to insert Michael Beasley into the starting lineup.
Beasley is not the perimeter defender that Battier is, but he is a better rebounder, and is stronger and more athletic than Battier. At 6-foot-10 and 235 pounds, he is a natural power forward but has the skill set on offense of a small forward. There are very few power forwards in the league that can do what Beasley can when he has the ball. He might not be able to cover David West or Carlos Boozer, but neither can Battier so it’s a non-factor against those teams.
Beasley is shooting 52.6 percent from the field this year compared to 38.9 from Battier. He is also shooting 50 percent from the 3-point line compared to 33.7 percent from Battier. They average the same amount of minutes, but Beasley has the edge in scoring (11.1 vs. 4.2), rebounding (4.4 vs. 1.8) and in PER (18.8 vs. 8.0).
Having a player like Beasley come off the bench can provide a spark for most teams, but Miami doesn’t need that as much as others do. They still have Ray Allen and Norris Cole coming off the bench and they always have LeBron James, Chris Bosh or Dwyane Wade in the game. They usually only play 10 minutes without James in each game and they can still have Beasley, Bosh and Wade during those stretches.
The Heat have been very careful with Beasley knowing his history of off-court issues. They are hesitant to give him such a big role in case he gets in trouble and is no longer able to contribute to this team. With the leadership they have on this team, Beasley seems to have turned his career around and should be given the opportunity to succeed in Miami again.