Since being drafted No. 2 overall in 2008, Michael Beasley’s career hasn’t panned out the way I imagine he had hoped. However, at 29 years old, Beasley still has time to turn things around and he has been given an opportunity to prove himself with the Los Angeles Lakers this season.
Beasley’s coming off of his most successful season in years, averaging 13.2 points on 50 percent shooting from the field and 39.5 percent shooting from behind the arc in 74 games for the New York Knicks. He also contributed 5.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.
The Lakers are hoping Beasley can provide that same spark of the bench for them this season, and it sounds like they’re confident he can do that. In an interview with Lakers sideline reporter Mike Trudell, Lakers assistant coach Jesse Mermuys had high praise for Beasley, calling him one of the best isolation scorers in the NBA:
“Michael Beasley is one of the hardest guys to guard in the NBA. That’s just fact. He’s one of the best 1-on-1 players in the league. With his size and his scoring ability, he’s tough. Having a guy like that on your roster is always beneficial. You always need a bucket getter.
“There are times guys just don’t have it going, there’s fatigue, there’s travel, there are schedule games that are a monster, there are back to backs. There are so many things in the NBA where having a bucket getter is really valuable, so having Michael Beasley on your roster is a nice asset.”
Isolation scoring might not be as popular as it once was, but it’s not completely valueless, either. In fact, reigning league MVP James Harden averaged a league-high 12.2 points in isolation possessions last season, almost double what LeBron James, who finished second in the league in points in isolation possessions, averaged.
Beasley cracked the top-10 in points out of isolation possessions with 2.6 points, ahead of elite All-Star scorers like Bradley Beal, Victor Oladipo and Paul George. So, I guess you could say: Michael Beasley > Paul George.
But scoring has never been the issue with Beasley, it’s been the opposite side of the floor where he’s been a liability almost his entire career. Last season, Beasley finished with a defensive rating of 110.8, which was among the lowest of any player to appear in at least 70 games.
James finished with a worse defensive rating than Beasley, but he makes up for it by being a human flamethrower and maybe the best player ever on the offensive end. Beasley is good in isolation, but he’s not THAT good, and because of that, he still may have a hard time staying on the floor consistently, even if the Lakers are hoping he can be a spark when they need him.
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