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Beasley Rounds Out Successful Offseason

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August is the doldrums of the NBA fan life cycle. The last few free agents are making their decisions. Team USA is locking down its roster. The NBA schedule slowly trickles out. Other than that, there is not much to go over this month. However, the Pistons made a choice this weekend that has their fan base debating. Most fans thought the roster was set with 14 guaranteed contracts and Christian Wood. Enter Michael Beasley.

The Pistons brought in the journeyman forward on a non-guaranteed contract, with reports that he declined double the money in China in an attempt to reignite his NBA career on a playoff team. While there are off-court concerns, such as his suspension for violating the drug policy, this is a no-brainer chance for the team. This low-risk, high-reward move for Detroit brings forth some difficult questions that could have answers with potential to depict the direction of the franchise moving forward.

Realizing Potential

When it comes to the player who actually signed this past weekend, Michael Beasley has been attempting to realize potential for over a decade. Back in 2008, Beasley went number two overall to the Miami Heat. After having been hyped coming out of high school, he has never quite hit the same level of dominance. That being said, he still has the potential to be a scoring punch off the bench for a team sorely in need of one. Barring last year’s lost season, Beasley has averaged double figures in scoring in seven of his first ten seasons. He is also efficient, shooting an effective field goal percentage over 50 percent in five of the last six seasons.

Coming into the offseason, quality depth had to be high on the priority list for Ed Stefanski’s team. Only three bench players averaged more than eight points per game and none over 10. Any time two of Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson were out of the game, the offense tended to struggle to a halt. Beasley is another addition that changes that scoring punch off the bench. Out go Jose Calderon, Glenn Robinson, Jon Leuer, Zaza Pachulia and Ish Smith. Replacing them are Beasley, Derrick Rose, Sekou Doumbouya, Markieff Morris and Christian Wood.

While one of them likely won’t make the team, that is already a massive improvement on offense. This will be a low-pressure situation that will allow Beasley to pick his spots and occasionally carry the offense alongside former top-two pick mate Rose in bench-heavy units. If he is able to deliver on this role, he will quickly endear himself to the Motor City faithful.

Possible Ramifications– Wood You Rather

Given the roster restrictions when the season begins, any addition at this time of the year means that someone will have to go. Both Beasley and Christian Wood are on non-guaranteed deals and are the most likely candidates for the final roster spot. However, both players fill needs for the team and make it a tougher decision than most fans would expect. Beasley possesses the aforementioned scoring punch and Wood is the only backup center on the roster who acquitted himself well in a limited role for the New Orleans Pelicans last season. This could lead the team to shed salary elsewhere, and there are two prime candidates.

Possible Ramifications– Go Away Galloway

Langston Galloway wins the approval of few fans in Detroit. He was one of the bench players last year who could contribute on offense, but his production was inconsistent at best. His contract is expiring and he has been unable to contribute in a way commensurate with his contract. The team has been shopping him, and sending away his expiring contract and keeping both non-guaranteed contracts could work well for the Pistons. Luke Kennard and Rose look to fill the majority of Galloway’s role. Doing so in more efficient fashion makes him more expendable.

Possible Ramifications– Thon Meets His Maker

The other option is moving on from Thon Maker. Maker showed flashes last season of potential after coming over at the trade deadline. Unfortunately proved incapable of playing the center position behind Andre Drummond. Now that the team has added more options at power forward, Maker will be struggling to find consistent minutes. That and he will be an RFA with a cap hold of over $10 million could put Maker on borrowed time.

Offseason Success

No matter which decision is made, this offseason proved to be different in Detroit. Proven players chose to sign because they see Detroit as a place where they can get back on track in a playoff environment. The front office put together an interesting collection of young players and veteran reserves. If Beasley can make the team, he could be the perfect complement to the roster at large.

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