The Los Angeles Lakers announced that they officially signed Michael Beasley in free agency on Monday. Though terms of the deal were not disclosed, Beasley’s contract is reportedly worth $3.5 million.
“Michael adds another component of versatility to our deep roster,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said in a press release. “His length and ability to guard multiple positions, stretch the floor, play-make and create his own shot are all essential characteristics for us. Coming off one of the finest years of his career, we think Michael is poised to have a very exciting and strong season for us.”
Beasley averaged 13.2 points on 50.7 percent shooting to go with 5.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 22.3 minutes per game last year for the New York Knicks, where he played in 74 games and started 30 times.
But what Beasley mainly brings to the table is pure, unadulterated bucket-getting ability. The 6’9 smallball four found the net at an impressive enough rate in limited minutes for the Knicks last season to keep some impressive statistical company, according to Chris Herring of FiveThirtyEight:
Regardless of where you stand on the former No. 2 overall pick, though, the reality is this: Beasley finds the bottom of the net more than any other NBA reserve on a per-minute basis. In fact, just six players total — Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, and Westbrook — outpace him there.
And while Beasley has a checkered reputation with fans — which might have been why Twitter went to Defcon one when he signed — he wants to change the way people see him, even if he knows it all might be fruitless (via the Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic):
“My whole career I get ‘stoner,’ ‘partier,’ ‘troublemaker,’ and I’ve gotten in trouble a few times back in the day — not even back in the day, it’s not that long ago — I got in trouble a few times and that’s like the stigma that’s still with me to this day,” he says. “It’s not even that I’m changing now because at this point there’s nothing for me to change. I can cut my hair but I tried that three times, four times already. I can get tattoos removed but nobody will notice it until they’re all gone. Even then would it change?
“At this point, I want to be looked at different. I want to be respected. I want to be all of this and all of that but at the same time it’s like one man can’t change the world.”
Beasley may not change the world in Los Angeles, or even the world’s opinion of him, but Lakers fans have shown an affinity for embracing the various characters and lovable weirdos who have come to L.A. for some image rehab.
From Metta World Peace to Nick Young, the purple and gold faithful have demonstrated that even if a guy with a mixed reputation puts on a Lakers jersey and balls out, they’ll be chanting their name and making them a beloved cult figure in no time.
Who knows if Beasley is the next name to join that list or not, but his scoring ability will almost certainly get him some chances to earn Lakers fans’ love, and on such a cheap deal, he’s a more-than-solid, 15th-and-final guaranteed addition to “The Meme Team.”