Houston Rockets forward Michael Beasley has played some of the best basketball of his career since returning to the NBA from china.
Chinese League MVP Michael Beasley has played some of the best basketball of his NBA career since signing with the Houston Rockets in early March.
As a Rocket, Beasley is averaging 14 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes of play. As good as he’s been, Beasley is deserving of more playing time. His per 36 numbers are the highest they’ve been in his entire career at 26 points and 10 boards.
In a poor finish to an already disappointing season, Beasley has been a breath of fresh air for the Rockets. He hasn’t improved the Rockets enough that they can be confident they will make the playoffs, but he has helped them win a share of games by providing instant offense off the bench– something the Rockets have lacked all season.
Speaking about the Rockets frustrating season, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told ESPN.com on Thursday, “It’s been a tough year for everybody, not just me but also [Rockets owner Leslie] Mr. Alexander, the coaches, the players all the way down, the fans. I think that responsibility lies with everyone and it starts with me.”
Not all of the blame for the Rockets season can fall on Morey’s shoulders, however. After all, he kept in tact a team that made it to last season’s Western Conference Finals, then took a small risk in adding point guard Ty Lawson to a roster that was in desperate need of an additional playmaker. Most general managers would have done the same.
What most manager’s would not have done is signed Michael Beasley. Morey, though, saw value in taking a risk on the once second overall draft pick. So far, things have worked out.
Memo to the analytics bashers: If a guy is a very good shooter on long 2s (like Beasley), it's not a bad shot. But most players aren't.
— David Weiner (@BimaThug) March 30, 2016
Other than gambling on a player with attitude problems, many people assumed Beasley wouldn’t be a good fit in a Rockets system that strays away from long twos. Since coming to the Rockets, Beasley has only taken 8 three-point field goal attempts to his 140 two-point field goal attempts. A lot of those two-point field goal attempts have been just inside the three-point line.
The system of basketball that Daryl Morey wishes for the Rockets to play is a system in which shots with low efficiency are eliminated. For most players, that means taking a step back to ensure that their behind the three point line. For Michael Beasley, who is currently shooting 54% from the field, long twos are shots worth taking.
Morey is interested in efficiency more than he is interested in adhering to a general set of rules that usually result in efficiency. Because of that, Beasley has not only been allowed to shoot long twos, he’s been allowed to shoot a heck of a lot of them.
The Rockets’ trust in Beasley has paid off. No Rocket has ever scored as many points as Beasley has in their first 250 minutes of play.
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) March 30, 2016
Beasley’s efficiency as a Rocket is something that nobody would have predicted. As the Rockets approach the playoffs, Morey and company are counting on Beasley’s numbers remaining the same.
With increased minutes, perhaps Beasley can help push the Rockets out of mediocrity. Its a long shot, but Beasley is accustomed to taking those.
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