Michael Beasley has looked good in the preseason. He can score, we know that much. But his willingness to defend, rebound, make hustle plays and buy into the Miami Heat culture has been most impressive.
Looking forward, if Beasley does play well enough to earn regular rotation time, who does he take minutes from? According to the Miami Herald, it could be Shane Battier.
One possible answer is Shane Battier, and that would be strangely ironic considering Battier’s steady demeanor, his attention to detail on defense and his importance to the Heat’s back-to-back championships. Battier was benched deep into the 2013 playoffs, sure, but he also redeemed himself in Game 7 and was a mainstay during Miami’s near-record winning streak of 27 games during the regular season.
According the LeBron James, Beasley still has a lot to prove before he earns regular minutes.
“Obviously, we have some veteran guys on our team that’s earned the right to play on this team and has earned minutes, but I think if he continues to improve like he has been in the first couple weeks then he gives himself a great chance to have a role on this team,” James said.
The Heat also have James Jones and Rashard Lewis who figure to compete for increased playing time following the departure of Mike Miller. It is important to remember that it isn’t as simple as handing Miller’s minutes to one or multiple players. Miller still had a tough time regularly cracking the lineup.
Battier was worn down from a season of playing power forward early and often. It was already assumed that Battier would not be put in that position again. In that sense, losing minutes to Beasley would be a good thing and could prevent another Battier cold streak in the post season. And what about the Big Three? Maybe James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh get to hit the snooze button more often on the bench. I also believe that if Beasley plays well enough to prove he deserves more minutes, that he is a better fit for what the Heat want to do than is Udonis Haslem.