Saturday, May 22, 2010
Should Miami Build around Wade and Beasley?
How much would a power forward who averages 18.9 points and 7.8 rebounds be worth in the free agent market? What if that guy was 21 and had not yet reached his potential? I know it is a tired argument, but the biggest difference between Michael Beasley and the guy referenced above are nine minutes a game. When you project his "lackluster production" from his first two seasons in the league to true starters minutes, or 36 minutes per game, you see he hasn't fallen too short of our lofty expectations of averaging 20 and 10 coming out of the gate.
Foxsports.com's Jason Whitlock is far from impressed with Amar'e Stoudemire's performance against the L.A. Lakers saying he "flat-out refuses to play defense". I am not surprised by this development as I he is one player that I have watched for many years. While there is no question that Amar'e would be an upgrade over Michael, as his career per 36 averages of 22.3 points and 9.3 rebounds would suggest, there is a legitimate concern that he is not a defensive upgrade - the reason why Michael has not been given 36 minutes per game, according to the coaching staff.
Whitlock also refers to Amar'e as "clueless", having "the maturity level of (a) 13-year-old", and setting a "terrible tone for (his) team". Adding that he "just wants to score points" and is not interested in giving a "playoff level defensive effort". Dwight Howard is also singled out in the article for many of these same ailments and the author blames it on their being "AAU babies". His theory is that "kids used to be taught how to compete, how to accept coaching and that important games pitting equally talented players are most often decided at the defensive end" while this era's high school phenoms could ignore the teachings of their coaches and still land "a spot in the draft lottery and a shoe contract with Nike or Adidas". Sound familiar?
It should, Miami has spent two years trying to convert AAU pup Michael Beasley into an old school baller that appreciates the fine line between winning and losing in this league. According to Whitlock "It takes a team to play defense in the NBA. You can go one-on-one or pick-and-roll and score a boatload of points in the league. Defensive stops take five guys working together". That sentence sounds an awful lot like "Heat Culture" to me, and if it has been so hard to get Michael to understand that these things are more important than statistical dominance, how are you going to convince a veteran who goes by the nickname "Stat"?
I think trading a 21 year old Michael Beasley for a 26 year old Chris Bosh or 27 year old Amar'e Stoudemire is not a bad idea by any stretch of the imagination, because you are trading a phenom for another who is already in his prime. However, the extra $12M in cap space represents the likely price tag for Jermaine O'Neal and Dorell Wright and our 1st round pick. Adding one max salary type of guy to that core might actually be the most sensible route to take as it would add more offensive firepower to a team that is already in the top 5 on the defensive end and has spent the past year and a half developing that identity. Do we really need to throw all of that away to add stars that may not buy in?
If we retained this core, which free agent and first round pick would you target to get to the next level?:
C - Jermaine O'Neal/Joel Anthony
PF - Michael Beasley
SF - Dorell Wright
SG - Dwyane Wade/DaeQuan Cook
PG - Mario Chalmers/Patrick Beverley