The Denver Nuggets couldn’t retain Malik Beasley to their roster due to the lack of playing time and cap-space. Denver decided to trade him to Minnesota as they couldn’t find a suitable role for Beasley in their roster. Beasley took part in a multitudinous trade that included four teams and 12 players. Despite the little time he had in the “Twin Cities”, playing just 14 games after the trade and before the NBA season hiatus, the Atlanta native put up some interesting numbers.
He was averaging 20.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 33 minutes per game. The young wing had amped up his shooting percentages, despite that his usage rating has increased (20.8). Namely, he was shooting 47% from the filed and 42% from the three-point line in the Timberwolves uniform merging well offensively with the flow of the team, which was based on D’Angelo Russell.
With both being talented scorers, in the little time (12 games) we saw them together, the Timberwolves were scoring 113.3 points per 100 possessions, while the duo averaged 7.9 three-points attempts per game, splitting the shots on the perimeter and scoring 59 points per 23.3 minutes. While Minnesota excelled on offense having both simultaneously on the court, their defensive deficiencies became more and more evident.
Minnesota finished with one of the worst defensive ratings in February (117.8 points per 100), while March was slightly better conceding 113.6 points per 100 possessions, before basketball activity stops due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Timberwolves will call upon to make a decision this summer on Beasley, who will be a restricted free agent.
The Wolves would have the right to match any offers that come Beasley’s way and have his Bird Rights, meaning they can exceed the salary cap to sign him. In one of the most productive stints of his early career, Beasley will be called upon to be the third scoring option in a pretty talented Minnesota team in the offensive end.
The young guard is going to fit just right between Towns (who missed many games due to injury this season) and Russell, who was constantly being the main scoring option for the Wolves, after the trade to Minnesota. The Minnesota Timberwolves President of basketball operation Gersson Rosas seems to be eager to keep Beasley in the “Twin Cities”.
“We’re big fans of Malik,” Rosas said according to Star Tribune. “We paid a very, very strong premium to get him here in Minnesota. But we’re excited. I think the small sample size we saw with him with the Minnesota Timberwolves showed his potential.”
The serious question for the Wolves is the defense, where Beasley is not the answer. If the team surrounds their talent with capable defenders, then, maybe, we are going to witness a new talented fun-to-watch NBA team in the Western Conference.