The Miami Heat have been plenty busy with damage control these last couple of weeks. After a meltdown in the Big Apple, Miami went on to post a rare three game losing streak and have lost Dwyane Wade for an extended period of time. The recent string of injuries and losses have made the start to the New Year anything but easy. Along with Wade, Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier have also missed a stretch of games due to injury. With all these injuries and disappointing play in the month of January, you would think Erik Spoelstra might try some new combinations or turn to a different face.
We saw the regular season debut of Greg Oden last week, but that wasn’t the different face I was thinking of. The saving grace in my mind could be Michael Beasley. The young player has seen great success in his second stint with the Heat, averaging nine points and 3.6 rebounds in his resurrection season. Spoelstra has pointed out Beasley’s lacking on the defensive end and the forward has admitted his struggles, but it wasn’t bad enough to see a dramatic reduction in his minutes, especially with all the injuries.
Over the last seven games, Beasley has only averaged 8.6 minutes, including five games of 10 minutes or less. In these seven games, the NBA champs are 3-4, including the 3-game losing streak. There has been no reason from Spoelstra in regards to the dramatic decrease in the use of Beasley and I can’t figure out one for the head coach to use. We know of the defensive issues, but Beasley has said he will work on it. Plus, between the injuries and poor play, Beasley is even more of a necessity than a luxury.
I wouldn’t go as far to say that Spoelstra is attempting to push Beasley out of the rotation and I wouldn’t say that he is “lost in translation.” What I do believe is going on with Beasley’s situation is some tough love from Spoelstra. Beasley wants to be on the court and he wants to play. After getting more than a taste as a regular in the rotation, Spoelstra has taken it away. He wants Beasley to mature, grow and improve. The hope is that the lack of playing time will trigger Beasley to work harder and regain his spot in the rotation.
Will it work? I think it will. So far, Spoelstra has done a great job of handling Beasley and he has shown that he knows what he is doing with the forward. Give it some more time. By the time the postseason is here, Beasley should become a key factor in the lineup and the quest for a third straight title.