Tag Archives: Michael Beasley

Layups, Oct. 05

  • Miami is going to start Michael Beasley at small forward. I get it; they want to start their best 5 players. Plus, if they’re going to go after Carlos Boozer or Chris Bosh this summer, they’re not going to want Beas playing the 4. Still, I’m a bit worried about this plan. As I said in my Heat preview, one of the biggest goals this season has to be Beasley’s development. He was actually very good offensively last year, but wasn’t given the minutes or touches to really show what he can do. It’s in the Heat’s long-term best interest to raise Beasley’s stock around the league. Plus, they need his scoring. If you ask me, putting him at the 3 for long stretches of time might hurt his offensive numbers. He’s more valuable offensively on the post than he is on the wing. Plus, on the defensive end, multi-talented 3s will routinely expose his weaknesses. At the end of the season, the Heat need people to be talking about what Beasley can do rather than what he can’t, and, in my eyes, he needs significant minutes at the 4 for this to be the case.
  • The Toronto hype machine is saying that Andrea Bargnani is much improved at everything. Most notable is that his defense is supposedly better – apparently, his anticipation has improved and so has his understanding of team defensive principles. Still, even though I defended his contract extension, I am wary about buying into this. Who exactly is he defending, with Chris Bosh sitting training camp out? Rasho Nesterovic, Patrick O’Bryant, and maybe a bit of Amir Johnson, that’s who. I’m going to wait and see what Bargnani does in a real game, because, as much as I want to believe he’s made a big leap on D, the objective side of me tells me this kind of story is meaningless.
  • Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer is saying that the Bobcats offered Ray Felton a long-term deal for about $7 million a season and HE TURNED IT DOWN. Whaaaa? Isn’t this team trying to shed its long-term deals? Don’t they want to develop D.J. Augustin? You don’t give $7 million a year to a guy who hasn’t shown any improvement in 4 seasons. Yeah, it seemed like Felton had a lot of potential coming out of UNC, but since arriving in the league he’s been a below average player. He doesn’t score efficiently, can’t shoot the 3, and the only reason his stats look decent is that he plays upwards of 37 minutes a game. Bill Simmons is wrong about this one. If there’s truth to this story, both sides are crazy
  • Brandan Wright will be out 4 to 6 months because he will require shoulder surgery. Don Nelson is upset because Wright “might be the best player in camp” and “it’s quite a loss for us”. So, Nelson’s saying he was finally going to give Wright a shot then. Really? He only let Wright play 9.9 minutes a game in his rookie season and 17.6  in his sophomore season, so why should we believe him? Both seasons, there wasn’t much consistency in the minutes department – he was jerked in and out of the line-up like all other young players tend to be in Golden State. All the while, he’s put up very good per-minute stats, making us dorks who care about such things wish that he will be given an opportunity to showcase his skills somewhere else. I’ve felt bad for this kid the last two years on the Warriors’ bench and feel really, really bad for him now that he’s hurt. Hope he returns at full strength.
  • Spurs blog 48 Minutes of Hell is speculating that DeJuan Blair might end up putting up the best per-minute stats of any rookie. While I’m not ready to fully jump aboard that train, I’ve got to say I’m excited about the guy. It’s unbelievable that a guy who rebounds like he does slipped so late in the draft. How well does he rebound, exactly? Well, his offensive rebounding rate last season was better than some entire teams’ rates. The guy is a monster. I’ve said it many times before but it bears repeating: The Spurs off-season has been mind-bogglingly good. Without a ton of cap room or a high draft pick, they’ve added a ton of rotation-worthy players and put themselves into title contention once again.

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Filed under Charlotte Bobcats, Golden State Warriors, Layups, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors

Looking Forward: Miami Heat

The Miami Heat were decent last season. 43-39, with the league’s 11th-best defense and 20th-best offense. Good enough to lose the most boring, meaningless 7-game series in NBA playoff history to the Atlanta Hawks. Dwyane Wade turned in an individual season for the ages, but his teammates were not good enough to make this team a serious contender in the East.

With Wade’s free agency coming up in the summer of 2010, many expected Miami to try to make a big splash this summer and surround the megastar with more talent. With Toronto in the same situation with Chris Bosh, they overhauled the roster and invested significant money in Hedo Turkoglu and Andrea Bargnani in an order to solidify their core. What did Miami do, get Lamar Odom and Carlos Boozer? Nope. These avenues were explored, but all they ended up doing was replacing Jamario Moon and Mark Blount with Wade’s buddy, Quentin Richardson. Bleh.

This is a risky strategy, following the Knicks’ lead in holding out for the 2010 sweepstakes. Dwyane Wade might not be content with another season on a middle-of-the-pack team, losing in the first round of the playoffs. If he sees himself being trapped in Chris Paul Hell and bolts to Chicago or New York next summer, their fan base will be crushed.

Thing is, if it works, it really works. Next summer, everyone’s contract is up. They already have a potential star in Michael Beasley and a nice young PG in Mario Chalmers, and they’re going to have enough cap room to re-sign Wade, sign another big-money player, and find a few role players. As a Raptors fan, I’m absolutely terrified that Bosh will join Wade in Miami. Boozer, Amar’e Stoudemire, and even David Lee are also legitimate possibilities. Of course, this raises the question of whether or not Beasley can be converted to a 3, but if that becomes a problem it will be a pretty good problem to have in Miami. In a city where it seems every NBA player would love to play, having the most flexibility in the league in a star-studded free agency period is certainly a good thing. This team has had an extremely boring summer and I’m not even very excited about watching them in 2009-2010, but I understand their thinking. They have a plan and they’re going to stick to it.

If the Heat are not going to be in the East’s upper echelon (and they won’t be), the single most important part of 2009-2010 is going to be how they develop Michael Beasley. This supremely talented player only played 25 minutes a game for Erik Spolestra’s club last season, despite being taken #2 overall in the NBA draft. Even with his defensive deficiencies, this is far too low. His scoring and rebounding translated very well to the NBA. This season, he’s got to get far more minutes and they have to run more plays for him. With increased playing time and an increased role, there’s no reason this kid can’t average 20 PPG next season. They need to give Beasley the opportunity to shine – it’s the right move for their future, even if it’s later determined that he doesn’t fit alongside Wade and Free Agent X in Miami’s long-term plan.

Aside from Beasley (and Mario Chalmers), there’s probably not going to be much improvement from anyone on this squad. Dwyane Wade does almost as much as humanly possible and, if Jermaine O’Neal actually does return to All-Star form like he says he will, it will defy all logic and historical precedent. It’s a bit unfortunate for Heat fans, to see the same mediocre team trotted back out there again this year, probably destined for another first-round defeat. I guess they’ll just have to live with having one of the game’s very best and most exciting players on the roster. That isn’t so bad, actually.

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Filed under Free Agency, Looking Forward, Miami Heat, Trades

8 Fantasy Basketball Picks For 2009-2010

The superduperstar

Kevin Durant: This is the least creative choice on the list. The guy is a stud, we all know it. He put up 25.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 2.8 APG with great percentages last year. He turns 21 at the end of this month, so if I was in a keeper league I might even take him with the #3 pick in the draft. In a recent podcast, Bill Simmons and Chad Ford both said they wouldn’t be surprised if he averaged 30 PPG next season – this doesn’t sound too crazy when you realize he averaged 30.6 PPG in the month of February last season. If you can get him mid-to-late first round, just do it. You won’t be sorry.

Scorers on bad offensive teams

Luis Scola: After Durant, this was the easiest call for me. I don’t see grabbing Scola as a risky move at all. He and his game are not pretty, so a lot of people might forget about him, but he averaged a solid 12.7 points and 8.8 rebounds last season while shooting 53% from the field and a much-improved 76% from the free throw line. His per-game numbers should go up across the board, as his 30 minutes a game should go up and he should get way, way more touches. With Yao likely out for the season and McGrady’s health still a big question mark, Scola should be Houston’s #1 offensive option. If he averages 17 and 10, I won’t be surprised.

Spencer Hawes: I can’t stand Spencer Hawes’s game. He’s not extremely skilled and he’s not really a blue-collar worker, either. I couldn’t bear to watch much of the Kings last year, but when I did I found him extremely annoying. Still, on this Kings team, he is asked to score and he is effective. In fantasy hoops, this is what matters. His averages of 11.4 PPG and 7.1 RPG from last season won’t blow you away, but look at what he did in the last two months of the season when he played big minutes. His per-minute scoring, assists, and 3-point shooting improved from his first season to his second and we can hope this will happen again. Even if it doesn’t, though, he’ll likely average more than 30 minutes a game for the first time in his career this season and this alone is reason to expect a jump in his fantasy value.

Back from injury

Gilbert Arenas: I know, I know. It’s a risk. The guy has played 15 games in the last two seasons. There’s no guarantee he’ll put up the same numbers he did when he was healthy. Still, though, I say it’s worth the risk. Some people might forget just how good he was before the injury – he averaged 28.4 PPG, 6.0 APG, 4.6 RPG in his last healthy NBA season, 2006-2007. Oh, almost forgot: he also shot 84% from the line and hit 2.8 3-pointers a game that year, too. He doesn’t need to put up numbers as ridiculously good as those to be of value to your team. He’s still only 27 and, from what we’ve seen this summer, he still has plenty in the tank. My prediction: points go down, rebounds go down, assists go up, and he’s still easily one of the top-5 point guards in the game, fantasy-wise.

Jose Calderon: He was on everybody’s list last year, and rightfully so. This is a guy who had put up great per-minute numbers, improved every year, and was finally given a permanent starting spot – can’t miss, right? Well, it kind of did miss. His numbers went up in some categories (including PPG and his ridiculous FT%) and went down in others (including FG% and TO). Essentially, he was as good as the season before, despite the fact he was playing 4 more minutes a game. This meant his per-minute stats actually went down. As any Raptors fan can tell you, this was because the Jose on display for the vast majority of last season was injured. He couldn’t turn the corner like he used to and he couldn’t get the same lift on his shot. If he remains healthy this time, then his stats should jump a bit this year, meaning you should pick him a round or two higher than he’s projected to go.

Up-and-comers in Minnesota

Ramon Sessions: This 23-year-old point guard will be handed the keys to Minnesota’s offense next season. There will be no more Luke Ridnour nonsense. Yeah, Johnny Flynn will be in the picture, but I anticipate Sessions’s minutes will be fine because he’ll get some time at shooting guard. We know the man can score and get assists – as a rookie, he averaged 8.1 PPG and 7.5 APG in 26.5 MPG and, as a sophomore, he averaged 12.4 PPG and 5.7 APG in 27.5 MPG. You’ll notice a common theme here – there’s reason to believe that his minutes will go up, so even if this third-year player doesn’t make a big jump in per-minute production, his total numbers for your team should be just fine.

Kevin Love: Okay, I could just as easily put any number of second-year players on this list – Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley (don’t sleep on him because of this rehab stuff), Anthony Randolph, D.J. Augustin (especially if Felton goes elsewhere), Brook Lopez, and Russell Westbrook should improve next season. I picked Love because he might not be an obvious choice and he has a ton of upside. His averages of 11.1 PPG and 9.1 RPG are good, but they’re way better when you consider that he did this in only 25 minutes a night. He’s an elite rebounder and, under Kurt Rambis, I expect to see him get the time on the floor to show that to the world. Based on his shooting and passing ability, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a big jump in his per-minute scoring and assist numbers.

Late-round gamble

Ike Diogu: Okay, this might be a reach, but I have to mention him. Those who have followed the blog from the beginning know I love this guy’s game. He’s put up great per-minute stats throughout his career, but he’s been unfairly benched by coaches who don’t know what they’re doing. I’m not sure if I should trust Byron Scott to do what no one else has done in his career (save for a couple games late last season), but the fact that New Orleans is pretty weak in terms of frontcourt depth makes him a worthy gamble if you’re in a very deep league and you want to make a low-risk pick at the end of the draft.

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