The Minnesota Timberwolves are still a middle-of-the-pack offense and need to add scoring. Enter former No. 2-overall draft pick Michael Beasley.
The Minnesota Timberwolves need another scorer.
The Jimmy Butler trade with the 76ers returned Robert Covington and Dario Saric, the former of whom doesn’t create his own shot and the latter who is generally more comfortable spotting up or catching in the post.
Supposed cornerstone Andrew Wiggins recently suffered through his first career shutout, going 0-for-12 Saturday against the Bulls, but luckily Karl-Anthony Towns and Derrick Rose picked up the slack as the Wolves won.
However, if the Wolves want to make the playoffs and build off of last year, they will need to add another volume playmaker who can draw defenses, penetrate the rim, and kick it out to the open shooter. That someone just might be the former No. 2-overall pick and former Wolf Michael Beasley.
Beasley played two seasons for the Wolves from 2010 to 2012, even averaging a career-high 19.2 points per game in 2010-11. After a rough few years bouncing around the league and even playing in China, Beasley showed his worth last season with the New York Knicks.
When Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL in February, Beasley was thrust into the starting lineup and as the complementary scorer alongside Tim Hardaway Jr. As his minutes increased, so did his scoring output, increasing from roughly 12 to 16 points per game and his field goal percentage from 39.5 to 54.9 percent.
Over the past three seasons, Beasley has posted true shooting percentages of .563, .584, and .556 and win shares of 1.0, 1.8, and 2.4. His percentage of shot attempts from within three feet of the basket are .361, .303, and .328 — far higher than the earlier stages of his career when he too often settled for mid-range jumpers.
In fact, Beasley had one of the best seasons of his career last year, posting a 17.8 Player Efficiency Rating with a 27 percent overall usage when he was on the floor.
What makes a Beasley 2.0 appealing for the T-Wolves is his ability to get to the rim. While he does have a 35 percent career 3-point average, he’s only averaged 1.4 3-point attempts per game for his career. But Beasley is a playmaker and a great finisher at the rim, as evidenced by the majority of his shots over the past three years has an average distance of 8.9, 10.2 and 9.0 feet, respectively.
He’s also versatile enough to adjust his game based on his surroundings. Wiggins and KAT will always be the primary options, and Beasley still has the capability to be a knockdown jump shooter. The last three-plus seasons have seen him shoot 51.6 percent from the field and 39.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Per 36 minutes, Beasley is a career 19.5-point-per-game scorer. He’s a veteran presence and an added playmaker the Wolves need when KAT and Wiggins (currently shooting only 35.1 percent from the floor) struggle. Beasley can be a spot up shooter like Covington and Saric or have the bench unit run through him as the primary scorer. He would be able to shore-up the bench and be an important complement to Derrick Rose.
The Wolves could also opt to start Beasley depending on matchups and slide the defensive-minded Gibson to the bench. Gibson is a good rebounder and defender but doesn’t provide much on offense, and his defensive chops could be a good fit to help support Rose and Tyus Jones on the second unit.
Beasley is on a manageable minimum salary of $3.5 million and has only appeared in seven games for the Lakers this year and the Wolves might only need to give up a second-round draft pick to get Beasley.
Michael Beasley would be a solid pickup for the Timberwolves while providing good offensive punch for the second unit. A the very least, the Wolves should inquire and see if the Lakers would be willing to listen.