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Michael Beasley returns to Lakers with a lot of ground to cover

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Michael Beasley will face an uphill battle back into the rotation upon his return.

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Michael Beasley returned to practice with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday after missing the past four games. Beasley is expected to be available Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The former No. 2 overall pick signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Lakers this summer after a promising bounce back season with the New York Knicks last year. However, in his limited action with the Lakers, he has struggled to rediscover that form.

In three appearances for L.A., Beasley has put up a total of 3 points and 3 rebounds in 10 minutes, and had two games with zero field goal attempts. Last season, he only had one game where he didn’t attempt a single field goal.

Beasley hasn’t been himself, or at least the person he showed last season, but fortunately for him, the Lakers have every incentive to give him another look.

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

After moving Kyle Kuzma to the starting lineup, Walton doesn’t have anyone that he can plug into the backup 4 spot when LeBron James and Kuzma are sitting. With Beasley sidelined, he’s been playing Josh Hart at the 4.

Hart has held his own on the defensive end, but he’s much better suited out on the wing, considering he’s only 6-foot-5.

If Beasley can space the floor, make plays and play serviceable defense like he’s shown he can, Walton will have to find him a spot in the front-court rotation next to the team’s shot blocking big men like JaVale McGee, Ivica Zubac and Tyson Chandler.

Beasley converted 39.5 percent of his 86 3-point attempts last season. On a team that needs shooters, an inspired Beasley would be a breath of fresh air.

If Beasley can’t figure things out in the immediate future, he’ll struggle to find his way back into the rotation, assuming he’s not moved before he gets the chance to find a role.

Beasley was supposed to be a sneaky good pickup for the Lakers this offseason. With some time away from the game to spend time with his family, hopefully he’ll show signs of being the player he was last year, again.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.