Be easy, Mike Beasley

First of all, let me just say that no matter what you think about David Kahn or the Wolves' most recent moves, the off season status quo for this team was a front court of Kevin Love, Al Jefferson, and DeMarcus Cousins.  Throw in Luke Babbitt or James Anderson and that's still before an additional first round pick and a boat load of cap space were thrown at the wall to see what would stick.  

That being said, David Kahn's post-draft moves have been widely better than advertised, culminating with his ability to gain the 2nd pick in the 2008 Draft for a swap of 1st round picks with Miami sometime in the next 7 years.  Will the Bosh/Wade /James trio last 7 years on South Beach? There's an awful lot of mileage on some of those knees.  We'll have to wait and see what triggers are associated with the swap, but I have a hard time believing we're looking at a Marko Jaric type situation.  Remember, the Wolves traded for Marko by sending out a #1 pick and getting nothing in return.  Kahn got a swap.  

Before I get around to Beasley, let's take a look at two of Kahn's other major non-draft moves below the fold. 

One of this off season's inexplicable punch lines has been the $20 million dollar signing of Darko Milicic.  Darko's contract is for $5 mil/year with a partially guaranteed 4th season.  To put this deal in context, Amir Johnson just signed with the Raptors for 5 years and $34 million ($6.8 mil/year) and Drew Gooden signed with Milwaukee for 5 years and $32 million ($6.4 mil/year).  Zaza Pachulia is due $14.1 mil over the next 3 years (compared to Darko's $15).  Dan Gadzuric is getting over $7 mil/year this season in Golden State. DeSagana Diop signed for the full MLE in 2008 and is due $20 mil over the next 3 years. Head on over to Sham Sports and I'm sure you can find some more examples of Bigs Gone Wild on their 2nd contract. 

The bottom line with Darko is that 7 foot players on their 2nd or 3rd contracts cost some coin.  Never mind the fact that Darko had a cap hold of over $11 million and he was going to be resigned no matter what, the Wolves still signed a legit 7 footer in his mid 20s with NBA experience (albeit bad experience) for less than the going rate for Drew Gooden and Amir Johnson, and possibly below the market rate for centers who can give 20+ mpg who are on their second NBA contract.  Yet somehow that is a punch line.  Somehow it is an example of owners throwing caution to the wind and cutting checks with no concern for the bottom line.  

Whatever. 

David Kahn just signed Darko Milicic and Nikola Pekovic for a combined total of $9.3 mil/year for the next 3 seasons.  Do you think they will produce more than, say, Charlie V and Jason Maxiell ($37 mil over the next 3 years)?  And somehow Kahn is the joker here.  

As for Mike Beasley, the Wolves get a peak at the 2nd pick in the 2008 Draft for a swap of first rounders with the Heat sometime in the next 7 years.  There is literally no downside to this deal.  Al Jefferson is on his way out so we don't have to worry about the logjam at the 4, there will be plenty of minutes for Beasley to showcase whatever chip he should have on his shoulder at this point in his career, and it's not like the Wolves aren't getting a guy who still has a massive upside.  

There will always be the issue of him getting his head screwed on straight, but the one player I have always viewed as a valid comp for Beasley is a poor man's Carmelo Anthony.  Let's take a look at their first two years in the league:

 

 

Rk Player From To G MP PER TS% eFG% ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% ORtg DRtg OWS DWS WS WS/48

1 Carmelo Anthony 2004 2005 157 5603 17.2 .517 .449 6.5 12.3 9.4 13.5 1.5 0.9 12.9 28.8 102 106 6.0 5.0 11.0 0.094 2 Michael Beasley 2009 2010 159 4337 16.6 .516 .476 6.4 19.2 12.8 7.8 1.5 1.6 10.2 26.7 102 105 2.0 6.0 8.0 0.088

 

(ED NOTE: Sorry about the formatting here.  I'm on the road while I'm posting this and I don't have the time to tidy it up.  Click on the link for the full version without formatting errors.) 

Melo clearly has the more varied game and a better feel for his teammates, but Beasley still has the potential to rebound his position well and be a solid contributor from mid-range in.  It should also be noted that Melo was a year younger than Beasley when he entered the league. Here are their per36 totals:

Rk Player From To G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1 Carmelo Anthony 2004 2005 157 157 5603 7.4 17.3 .428 0.7 2.4 .298 5.6 7.1 .787 2.1 3.9 5.9 2.7 1.1 0.5 3.0 2.9 21.1
2 Michael Beasley 2009 2010 159 97 4337 7.6 16.6 .461 0.5 1.5 .333 3.1 4.0 .786 1.9 5.8 7.8 1.5 1.0 0.7 2.1 3.4 18.9

They are remarkably similar types of players.  Ultimately, I think Beasley has a Melo-esque ceiling with his rebounding making up for what he lacks in terms of Melo's facilitation numbers.  Will he get there?  Probably not, but again, 15 win teams can afford to take fliers like this, especially on guys who should have gigantic chips on their very talented shoulders. 

What will be interesting to see with Beasley is where he eventually fits in with the Wolves.  Is he a combo forward that can split some time at the 3 or is he straight power forward all the way? His short track record suggests the latter:

Net 48-Minute Production by Position

Position
FGA
eFG%
FTA
iFG
Reb
Ast
T/O
Blk
PF
Pts
PER*
PG
SG
SF
3.6  -.101  -.9  4% 2.4  .6  -.9  .0  .7  -1.6  -3.9  
PF
5.4  -.003  .2  -13% -.4  -1.0  .0  -.1  -.9  5.6  1.6  
C
.0  .000  .0  0% .0  .0  .0  .0  .0  .0  .0  

Again, Melo has the 2nd year advantage by being more flexible as well as more proficient at each position:

Net 48-Minute Production by Position

Position
FGA
eFG%
FTA
iFG
Reb
Ast
T/O
Blk
PF
Pts
PER*
PG
SG
+12.5  -0.280  -2.1  +14% +0.7  +1.4  +3.5  +0.0  +1.4  +0.0  -2.4  
SF
+4.7  -0.043  +5.0  +16% +1.4  +0.2  -1.6  -0.5  +0.7  +6.9  +2.7  
PF
+5.5  -0.130  +8.0  +11% -3.5  +1.1  -0.8  +0.3  +0.5  +6.9  +0.7  
C
+7.3  -0.350  +14.7  +5% +14.7  -7.3  +7.3  +7.3  -7.3  +0.0  +7.3  

Remember, a poor man's Melo is the goal here and he needs to rebound at a higher level than Melo in order for his overall production to reach that peak.  

When all is said and done about this trade, it has to be remembered that the Wolves were able to gain the 2nd pick in the 2008 NBA Draft for next to nothing.  They brought aboard a massively talented young player who, it should be noted, improved during his second season in the league while dealing with some fairly significant off the court issues. He now gets a chance to continue to improve on a team that can afford to give him a longer on-court leash.  

Interestingly enough, the Wolves now have the top two players from our  2008 Hoopus Draft Board: Mike Beasley and Kevin Love. I'm not sure how well this pairing will work together on the defensive end of the court, but....well, I'll repeat it until I'm blue in the face: 15 win teams can take these sorts of risks.  Here's hoping that Minny can be more K-State than Miami.  I think it's a fairly safe assumption that it will be, especially with what happened last night. 

I can't wait to see Beasley in a Wolves uniform.  

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