The Lakers approached the offseason with the intention of retaining most of its role players after an incredible and surprising run to the Western Conference Finals last season. Keeping Austin Reaves in Los Angeles was a no-brainer, but they had tougher decisions to make regarding players like D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Dennis Schröder and Mo Bamba.
Los Angeles eventually re-signed Russell, watched Schröder walk because the Raptors could offer him more money, waived Bamba and decided to decline Beasley’s $16.5 million team option after not being able to trade him. This decision wasn’t particularly a head-scratcher because, after all, Beasley underperformed during his short stint with the purple and gold.
In fact, the 27-year-old guard admitted that himself in a recent interview with Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report. According to Beasley, the reason why he wasn’t playing at his best during his time as a Laker was because he was dealing with off-court issues in Los Angeles.
“The challenge was that I faced was more off court stuff. It wasn’t more of getting in trouble it was more the past things that happened in my life that caused me not to play at my best. Also, L.A. is like home for me. I’m from Atlanta but my wife is from L.A. so it was a lot going on. I wasn’t the player I wanted to be and I hold myself accountable. I wasn’t putting in the extra work as I am now and it showed.
“It had nothing to do with the system or anything. Obviously, if I could’ve been put in a better position then maybe I could’ve been better but it’s not about that. I hold myself accountable for the year I had last year like getting myself out of the rotation and not to mention there were guys playing better than me straight up. I took that in accountability and worked my ass of this summer and it’s paying off.”
Kudos to Beasley for being self-aware enough to acknowledge his shortcomings as a Laker. It’s not easy to lose the opportunity to earn $16.5 million only to end up signing a veteran’s minimum deal with the Milwaukee Bucks. However, he is having a superb year as the starting shooting guard of the Bucks, averaging 11.6 points per game in a career-high 47.8% 3-point shooting — which is a far cry from how he performed as a Laker.
During his Lakers tenure, Beasley was pretty much hot and cold from downtown. He was inserted into the starting lineup as soon as his fourth game as a Laker. The veteran played a total of 26 games where he averaged 11.1 points on a career-low 35.3% 3-point shooting.
Still, Beasley played a big role in the Lakers’ incredible turnaround late in the regular season and his tenure will be remembered for the game when he knocked down seven 3-pointers in one half and scored 24 points in a vital win against the Pelicans. Or even the game against the Warriors when he scored 25 points and converted seven out of his 11 3-pointers.
But there came a point where Beasley’s weakness as a defender was as evident as his strength as a floor spacer and shooter. Unfortunately, the veteran didn’t contribute enough on offense consistently to remain in the starting lineup, which caused him to lose his starting job and minutes to Reaves by the time the playoffs came around.
Unfortunately, that led to both parties parting ways and while it’s brutal to lose 16.5 million, at least the shooting guard is bouncing back by having one of his best years in his career.
And who knows? Maybe Beasley will find himself donning the purple and gold armor again one day.
You can follow Nicole on Twitter at @nicoleganglani