Michael Beasley: Why This Stint With the Miami Heat Will Work Out

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The third time might just be the charm for Michael Beasley, who the Miami Heat signed to a 10-day contract this week.

The Miami Heat and its fans have had little patience for guys who don’t take the game seriously.

Between Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra finding “warriors” and fans expecting players–from Alonzo Mourning to Dwyane Wade–to approach the game with an assassin’s attitude, hard-working basketball professionals is the rule in Miami, not the pleasant surprise.

That’s why Miami’s obsession with Michael Beasley is so unusual.

For some reason, this pot smoking, shot chucking, defensive liability has captured the hearts of Heat fans and has been given so many chances with the team.

It’s as rocky a relationship as there is. Beasley can be absolutely, singularly brilliant on offense. At times he can score as effortlessly as Kevin Durant. Other times, he hijacks the offense and veers the flow of the offense into a tree.

On defense, he has all the tools to be great. He’s big, athletic and quick. He just doesn’t seem to have the focus or understanding to play consistently.

But here’s the thing. After a couple of failed stints with the Heat, this team might be the perfect fit for him.

This Heat team is very different from the others Beasley has played for. During his first round with the club, he was the second-best player on the team facing the expectations that came with being the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. He was jettisoned when the team had an opportunity to sign-and-trade for LeBron James.

His second go-around came as a fringe roster guy. A scoring specialist during the Big Three’s final tour. He had his moments, but ultimately couldn’t grasp Miami’s challenging defensive concepts and was causing more trouble on that end than his offense was worth.

Things have changed while Beasley was in China.

LeBron’s not in Miami. Hassan Whiteside has emerged as a standout rim protector and rebounder. After acquiring Goran Dragic, the team has a true point guard who can push the pace and run the pick-and-roll as well as anyone in the league.

In rebuilding the team, Spoelstra has ditched small ball and simplified the concepts on both offense and defense.

Simple? That sounds right up B-Easy’s alley.

On offense, Beasley will replace Chris Bosh as a stretch-4. As a shooter, he’s more natural than Bosh. He’s not the complete player Bosh is but, strictly from a stroke standpoint, there shouldn’t be much of a drop off, if at all.

With his speed and spacing, he’ll fit right in to what Miami is now starting to do with Dragic running the up-tempo offense. Dragic and Wade should be able to create ample air space for him to catch and shoot, and Beasley will likely be on the receiving end of plenty of pick-and-pops.

On defense, the Heat are more prepared to cover up for Beasley’s inefficiencies. The Heat are no longer “on a rope” on defense, asking guys to blitz the ball handler and help on rotations. Everything is filtered to Whiteside and Chris Andersen in the paint. All Beasley has to do is fight over screens and slow guys down–something his athleticism should allow him to do.

(I mean, Danny Granger got a ton of playing time with this team and Beasley can’t be any worse than he was.)

So, after years and years of trying to get it right, the third time might be the charm for Beasley and the Heat. The organization and its fans see the potential. If he can thrive in this simplified system, he will likely earn a contract upgraded from his current 10-day deal. And, at least for one more season, the Heat and Beasley will be a couple again.

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