After a wildly successful tour in China, former Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley is now able to sign with an NBA team.
Beasley will no doubt be a coveted commodity as he was nothing short of dominant in China this season. In fact, Beasley was just named the Chinese Foreign MVP on Monday as the Chinese Basketball League has foreign and domestic MVPs.
The former Kansas State Wildcats’ stats this season overseas were downright gaudy as he averaged 31.9 points, 13.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. The most notable performance from Beasley came in the Chinese League All-Star game where he scored 63 points, snared 19 rebounds, and dished out 13 assists (as seen below).
These tremendous stats will most certainly drive teams toward Beasley as he is now eligible to sign for a team. However, the former number-two overall pick has fizzled in the NBA in the past, which could also make teams wary of him. Nonetheless, as teams finalize their playoff rosters, Beasley is on the short list of signable free agents.
Minnesota is obviously not in the playoff race, but is Beasley a possible option for them as their 2015-16 season comes to a close?
Timberwolves fans will recall Beasley’s two seasons in Minnesota from 2010 to 2012, which were arguably the best of his career statistically.
In 73 games for the Timberwolves in 2010-11 Beasley avergaed 19.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Obviously, that is when the Timberwolves were absolutely awful, but the fact that he thrived in Minnesota has to attract some interest.
Obviously, there are a number of negatives that come along with signing Beasley. He has long had an issue with marijuana, and has had several run-ins with the law because of his frequent marijuana usage, including a stint in rehab back in 2009, although it is worth noting that Beasley has not had a marijuana related incident since 2013.
The competition level in China also raises some questions as to if Beasley can finally transition to the NBA. Sure, his stats are incredible, but he’s obviously not going up against elite level talent every single night in China. This could also make teams hesitant to pull the trigger on him.
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The Wolves will have a thinner roster if and when they buyout Kevin Martin, especially in light of Andre Miller‘s waiving last week. Adding Beasley for the final stretch could add a little scoring kick, and Beasley is 27 years old — old in Wolves years.
Presumably, Beasley will want to play for a contender, but given his past inconsistencies and immaturity issues, there may not be a ton of teams biting. The only team I can foresee taking a chance on him are the Miami Heat, who drafted Beasley in 2008, and Beasley played for them just last spring.
This leads me to believe that the Wolves could have a real chance at signing Beasley, especially if the Heat do not snatch him up. Signing Beasley would not be a huge risk with the season winding down, it would be interesting to see what he could bring to the table for this team.
Best case scenario for the Wolves would be that Beasley plays like he did back in 2010-11 and adds some veteran experience. He is still, technically, in his prime, so it’s not too far-fetched to believe he could play at a high level.
Worst case scenario is Beasley continues his stretch of inconsistency in the NBA, in which case it would simply verify that he was playing against extremely weak competition in China. If that happens, the Wolves could just let Beasley go at the end of the season.
In the end, signing Michael Beasley would not be a huge risk for the Timberwolves, and the reward would be finally seeing a truly talented player reach his true potential, which I believe we began to see when he was playing in China.