The Detroit Pistons signed forward Michael Beasley despite the veteran facing a five-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The signing was first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Detroit’s roster already stands at the maximum of 15 players, and Charania indicates that the signing gives Beasley a “legitimate opportunity to make Pistons roster” (sp), indicating that the deal is likely of the non-guaranteed variety.
That means Beasley will likely be fighting with big man Christian Wood, also on a non-gauranteed deal, for the final roster spot on the team.
Beasley has been a reasonably effective offensive weapon off the bench for the past few years, but last year with the Los Angeles Lakers was essentially a lost season. He played just 277 minutes in 26 games. He was eventually traded to the Clippers who subsequently waived him. Beasley then took his talents to China, and was reportedly considering a $5 million offer to play a full season in China.
So who among Beasley or Wood is more likely to make the team?
That might depend less on how they perform and more on how the players in front of them play. Wood’s future depends on how effective Thon Maker can perform as a reserve center. Beasley, meanwhile, will be behind the reliable Tony Snell and the intriguing Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk.
Unless, of course, the Pistons have the sense that they will be able to offload veteran Langston Galloway, who appears to maybe be the odd man out and is on an expiring contract.
There is also a sense of which of the two positions is more important to the team. Ideally, you’d rather have wing depth, especially a player with size like Beasely as opposed to a third-string center you’d hope to never need to rely on.
But that would require me to trust Thon Maker at center, which I definitely do not. Maker was a disaster at the five last season. And the stretch big is still just a 32% 3-point shooter after three seasons in the NBA.
Beasley shot 39% and 41% in the two season prior to his disastrous stint in LA (where he shot 17% from 3). Essentially, Beasley might be this year’s Jose Calderon. However, unlike Calderon, it’s unlikely that he is coming into camp on a guaranteed contract.
Wood will be only 24 years old when the season begins and while he doesn’t have the illusion of stretch that Maker has, he does have the ability to put the ball in the hoop. He’s a career 71% shooter within 3 feet of the rim.
While Beasley, being a former No. 2 overall pick (picked just after Derrick Rose, as a matter of fact) is the bigger name, I predict this is still Wood’s spot to lose. Unless, of course, Thon Maker takes a big, long-limbed leap forward. And that would be a pleasant surprise.