With the Miami Heat visiting Arizona to take on the Phoenix Suns, Michael Beasley could potentially get an opportunity to shine in front of his new and former team. Beasley hasn’t been playing much lately, seeing actual minutes in just 34 games this season. What’s worse is over the last four games, Beasley has only played eight minutes. Erik Spoelstra typically gives extra minutes to players going against their former team, so expect Beasley to make an appearance tonight.
Miami has been experiencing an up and down season of sorts. Even though they have the second best record in the East and the fourth best record in the league, Miami’s defensive ranking has plummeted from last season and several key players are experiencing career lows in multiple categories. Spoelstra needs to tinker with the starting lineup in order to yield more fruitful results, and the first place to start is at the power forward position.
Although Shane Battier has done an admirable job starting at power forward for Miami (especially during the playoffs), he is having one of the worst seasons of his career statistically. Battier has also battled injuries this season, which could be due to age finally catching up to the wily defensive three-point shooter. Replacing Battier with Beasley in the starting lineup could be just the spark the starting lineup needs in terms of size and offensive ability.
Outside of Beasley not being as avid of a defender as Battier, the former No. 2 pick has plenty to offer Miami in terms of production. Here are two players averages, player A and player B. You tell me who deserves to start. Player A (15 minutes per game): 8.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 0.7 assists on 50.4 percent shooting from the field and 44 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Player B (21 minutes per game): 5.0 points, 1.9 rebounds, 0.8 assists on 43% shooting from the field and 38 percent shooting from beyond the arc. You would have to be a fool not to pick player A to start. Not only does Player A average less minutes, he has higher percentages in almost every category compared to Player B. Believe it or not, Player A was Beasley and Player B was Battier. Those are their individual averages this season.
Without question, Beasley at least deserves the opportunity to start, just to see how his rebounding and scoring abilities would affect the rest of the starting lineup. There is also the added advantage of what Battier’s defense could do to Miami’s second unit if he is demoted to being a role player. This trade-off could yield results, Spoelstra just has to pull the trigger.