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How Michael Beasley provides the Lakers with instant offense off of the bench

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The Lakers signing of Michael Beasley was met with some skepticism, but he actually can help the team’s offense.

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NBA: Dallas Mavericks at New York Knicks Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Beasley signed a 1-year, $3.5M deal with the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, claiming the final guaranteed contract available after a successful season with the New York Knicks in which he averaged 13.2 ppg on 55.6 TS% and was widely embraced as a quality contributor by teammates and fans alike.

Beasley is a specialist, a professional bucket-getter with a polished repertoire. He’s particularly skilled in isolation and high-post situations, where he uses jab series and triple threat moves to great effect.

Let’s take a closer look at how he gets his points.

Beasley’s pick & pop ability is especially crucial for a team that doesn’t have much in the way of reliable stretch bigs in the wake of Brook Lopez’s departure. Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Rajon Rondo all face a steady diet of drop coverages — where the defensive big hangs back in the paint as the defensive guard fights over the screen — because none of them are threats to pull-up from 3-point range.

One of the best ways to beat that is with a big who can pick & pop. Beasley hit no-dribble jumpers out of pick & pop situations to the tune of 1.58 PPP, which puts him in the 97th percentile (!) on such shots. His presence ensures that defenses can’t disrupt the Lakers’ pick & roll game with a single coverage.

Unfortunately, his abilities as a 3-point shooter don’t extend to spot ups, where he generated just 0.78 PPP (19th percentile). He dips the ball when he catches it and has his set point well above the top of his head, which causes his shooting stroke to be a bit of a catapult motion that defenders can contest. This is reflected in the discrepancy between his ranking as an unguarded jump shooter (88th percentile) versus guarded shots (42nd percentile).

Michael Beasley isn’t a well-rounded player, and that’s okay. That’s the nature of players who are available in late-July. He may not even be in the rotation. But he can fill a valuable role as a go-to bench scorer when called upon for a Lakers team that needs finishers for the opportunities that their playmakers create.

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