The New York Knicks continue their search for a backup small forward to play behind Carmelo Anthony. However, at this point in free agency the choices are just about as limited as the Knicks contract options. Who could the Knicks sign for the veteran's minimum? How about giving Michael Beasley a chance?
Michael Beasley was drafted by the Miami Heat with the 2nd overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft out of Kansas State where he played next to former New York Knicks member Bill "Sky" Walker. He played for the Heat from 2008-10, the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2010-12, the Phoenix Suns from 2012-13 and returned to the Heat last season.
Beasley in an immensely talented and troubled player. He could be a superstar if he were mature and focused on his career. However, throughout the years he's proven to care more about being tough, partying and putting himself before his team.
That being said, last season Beasley returned to the Heat for a second time in hopes to rebuilding his reputation. He impressed the league by playing very well, dealing with the pressure of a march towards the Finals and by functioning as a team player.
Now rumors have Beasley on the Knicks radar. Sportige.com speculates Beasley could fit in on the Knicks.
Last season was about rebuilding his reputation as a player who isn’t going to cause trouble on an NBA team. This season will probably be about becoming a more important part of the rotation, and Michael Beasley should get a chance to do it from the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks or a number of other teams.
The 6-foot-10 stretch four has a style similar to Anthony’s in terms of versatility at the forward position, although he is more physical and Anthony is more of an assassin from the perimeter.
If the Knicks decide to acquire Beasley via some kind of deal, they could land the steal of the offseason in a cheap, talented and energetic player to help the team contend for years to come.
The fact is, Phil Jackson has never been one to shy away from players with checkered pasts. He's always had a way of bringing troubled players in and getting the best out of them.
Probably the biggest thing stopping a union between Beasley and the Knicks is J.R. Smith. The combination of Smith, Beasley and New York may be too much first-time head coach Derek Fisher.
That being said, we know teams around the league are looking into Beasley and there's no reason to believe that the Knicks are not one of them. Signing a player and looking into them are two different things but you always look into the best talent available.
Several teams have expressed interest in free agent Michael Beasley. Teams like the efficiency and maturity he showed last season in Miami.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 26, 2014
When looking into Beasley, Jackson should come up with a few determinations. First of all, he's the most talented small forward left on the market. Secondly, he's only 25 so he's still young. On top of that, his potential is very high.
Another plus for the Knicks is that he's not injury prone, unlike several of New York's players. Beasley is also eager to succeed and find his niche in the NBA. Luckily for him, he could really thrive off the bench in the triangle offense.
Beasley's off-court problems appear to be behind him. If that's the case, he could potentially become a go-to player off the bench behind Carmelo Anthony. Beasley can be a dynamic offensive player. He can play both forward positions and give the Knicks more options.
He's a player who can score in bunches, can pass well from the post, and can bring the Knicks some of that New York-style toughness back to the court. In fact, he's become a more committed player on the defensive side of the floor as well. Once considered a terrible defender, Beasley showed major improvement with a block of Tim Duncan being one of his defensive highlights from last season.
The fact is, Beasley isn't the perfect player. He's more of an offensive threat than a defensive player. He's also been unfocused in the past and shown character concerns. However, Beasley is a good risk at the veteran's minimum.
He's one of only a few players his size who can move like a guard and create his own show both in the paint and on the perimeter. He can just as easily take his man off the dribble as much as with low-post moves like hook shots or with jumpers from the perimeter.
He has more upside than anyone else on the market and wouldn't take a trade to acquire him. Beasley could also bring the Knicks more youth, height and athleticism. The price is right, if Jackson is willing to take a gamble on Beasley's behavior he might be able to land an impact player for a low price.
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Tags: Basketball, Carmelo Anthony, Derek Fisher, Kansas State, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Michael Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Phil Jackson, Phoenix Suns
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