The Houston Rockets will be the latest NBA team to take a flier on Michael Beasley, reportedly agreeing to terms with the former No. 2 overall pick Wednesday on a deal that will run the remainder of the season, per the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen and ESPN.com's Marc Stein.
Feigen added on Friday that while the Rockets haven't officially announced the deal, Beasley has taken a physical and there's no issue with FIBA clearance.
CBSSports.com's Zach Harper argued essentially swapping Lawson for Beasley is a somewhat odd move:
Zach Harper @talkhoops
“After this failed Lawson experiment, we need to add stability to the roster.” “I can get Mike Beasley here by the end of the week.” “Do it"2016-3-2 22:22:35
ESPN.com's Calvin Watkins noted Beasley does have some experience with Houston's interim head coach, J.B. Bickerstaff:
Calvin Watkins @calvinwatkins
JBB has been with Beasley in Minnesota. Relationship good.2016-3-2 23:10:19
Beasley recently arrived back in the United States following a spell in the Chinese Basketball Association. In 40 games with the Shandong Golden Stars, the 27-year-old averaged 31.9 points, 13.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists a night, per RealGM. He also shot an impressive 37.1 percent from three-point range.
On Feb. 23, Stein reported a number of NBA teams were considering signing Beasley for the home stretch of the regular season.
The time has long passed on Beasley becoming a perennial All-Star or living up to the billing of being a No. 2 pick. That's not to say he can't be a productive role player in the NBA, though, especially for a team angling for the postseason.
Here's a look at his per-36-minutes numbers and a few advanced metrics from the past four years—when he made the transition from regular starter to coming off the bench—courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com:
|Michael Beasley—Per-36, Advanced Stats (2011-15)|
Of course, there are reasons Beasley resorted to playing in China.
His dedication on the court has been spotty at times in the past. In 2014, sources told the Boston Globe's Gary Washburn that LeBron James "was not pleased with Beasley's focus" in Miami, which plays into the narrative the former Kansas State Wildcat hasn't made the most of his physical gifts and basketball talent.
Early in his NBA career, Beasley also ran into legal trouble on multiple occasions, with the last incident coming in August 2013.
The Cleveland Cavaliers showed last year how valuable bench depth can be, especially in the playoffs. Injuries exacerbated how thin Cleveland's roster was, and the problem was exposed against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
Of course, the playoffs aren't a guarantee for Houston, who is just a half-game ahead of the Utah Jazz for eighth in the Western Conference. Still, with the trade deadline having passed, the Rockets' options to bolster their roster were somewhat limited. Sam Vecenie of CBSSports.com' believes Beasley could have a positive impact on the team:
Sam Vecenie @Sam_Vecenie
Also do just want to point out that in 2013-14, Beasley wasn’t actually bad. It’s like…not insane…to think he could help off the bench.2016-3-2 22:27:20
Few expected much from Josh Smith when the Rockets signed him in the middle of last season. He averaged 12 points and six rebounds a game, while his 13.5-points a game in the playoffs were third-most on the team.
The Heat used Beasley as a center at times last year, but he'll likely primarily shift between the two forward positions for Houston.
As long as Beasley isn't pressed into playing heavy minutes, signing him shouldn't carry too much risk for Houston. He should give Bickerstaff something different off the bench for short stretches, making this a sensible move in the second half of the regular season.