Houston Rockets: Michael Beasley An Odd Fit For Current Team

Mar 13, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley (30) warms up before playing against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Heat 102-92. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 13, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley (30) warms up before playing against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Heat 102-92. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Houston Rockets signed Michael Beasley hoping to solve some of their power forward problems, but Beasley may bring more questions than solutions.

The Houston Rockets were extremely busy in the past week tweaking their roster. They waived two players in point guard Ty Lawson and shooting guard Marcus Thornton, and wasted no time in replacing them on the roster. They brought two players back to the NBA that spent the earlier part of this season in the Chinese Basketball Association in power forward Michael Beasley and shooting guard Andrew Goudelock.

Goudelock fits in with what the Rockets want to do — shoot three-pointers. It is one of the stronger areas of his game, and he could find himself in a similar role that Thornton was filling off the bench. How and where Beasley fits in is another question.

Fresh off an MVP winning season in China, Beasley is certainly coming to the Rockets hot. He averaged an absurd 31.9 points and 13.2 rebounds in 36.5 minutes per game, scoring and rebounding at extremely efficient clips. Even when translated to more closely resemble stats in the NBA, Beasley still had impressive averages of 18.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per 36 minutes. But, there are serious concerns to how those stats will translate over this season with the Rockets.

Offensive Skill Set

The analytically driven Rockets are a team that favors three-point shots over midrange jumpers or deep two-point shots. It makes sense, as the risk and reward is greater for a three-pointer. How Beasley will fit into this playing style is a question worth asking.

In his career, Beasley is a 34.3 percent three-point shooter. That is a respectable number, but it is not a consistent part of his game. He attempts only 13.4 percent of his shots from deep in his career, as he prefers to work inside the arc. Here is where the problem with Beasley’s fit with the Rockets comes up; his favorite shots are the midrange and deep two-pointers the Rockets try their best to avoid.

While Beasley attempts only 15.6 percent of his shots from what would be considered midrange (10-16 feet away from the basket), 28 percent of Beasley’s shot attempts in his NBA career have come from between 16 feet and the three-point line. There is no doubt that Beasley can score the basketball, but will he be able to do it with an offensive game that clashes with the Rockets’ philosophy?

Position Played

Beasley is best suited as a power forward in the NBA. He has the quickness and athleticism to be a terror offensively, but still has the strength and size to compete defensively. Beasley is talented, but his perimeter jump shot and defensive effort are inconsistent.

That seems to be a trend for the Rockets, as they already have two left-handed players with inconsistent perimeter games and sometimes lackadaisical defensive play in Terrence Jones and Josh Smith. Add in Donatas Motiejunas and the Rockets have a logjam at power forward that Beasley will find difficult to crack.

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The result could be Beasley playing small forward. If that is the route that they take, it wouldn’t result in many changes. Putting Beasley in a perimeter role greatly diminishes the impact he has on the game, as it essentially highlights the weaknesses in his game. It also takes him away from the basket, minimizing the impact he can have in the rebounding department, one of his strong suits.

Beasley is undoubtedly talented, but it is a risk adding him to an already toxic situation. He has shown the ability to play an important role on a winning team in the past, as he was a rotation player for the Miami Heat when they made the NBA Finals two seasons ago.

But, the situation in Houston is extremely different from the leadership that is present in Miami, so expecting that of Beasley for the final two months of this season would be a poor bet to make.

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The Rockets are currently clinging onto the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, leading the Utah Jazz by 1.5 games. Turning things around will not be very easy, and adding a player such as Beasley will not make it any easier. On a team that already lacks defensive intensity and chemistry, adding another player that sometimes lacks defensive intensity and needs the ball in his hands could cause more problems.