It’s as if the New York Knicks never want to be relevant again. Fans have suffered way too much to ever believe that they’ll be rooting for a winner anytime soon. James Dolan is one of the worst owners in all of professional sports; there’s no disputing that. It appears that things may have actually gotten worse since New York parted ways with Phil Jackson, though. The Knicks’ free agency acquisitions have been head-scratchers, as usual. New York signing Michael Beasley is just another classic, boneheaded decision by the team.
New York Knicks and former No. 2 overall pick Michael Beasley are nearing agreement on a one-year deal, a league source told @BBallInsiders.
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) August 8, 2017
According to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders, the Knicks are going to sign Beasley on a one-year deal. The veteran combo forward has shown flashes in his well-traveled career, but that’s a blessing in disguise in the Big Apple. He did have a solid season last year as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, even though it was in a pretty small role. Beasley has been a talented bench scorer for most of his time in the association, which is a plus on paper. He had arguably his most efficient scoring season last year, shooting a career-high 53.2 percent from the field, per Basketball-Reference. With that said, he’s not a great fit for the Knicks, given their defensive struggles.
Beasley had one of the worst defensive ratings on the Bucks last year, factoring in games played, and it’s tough to see that drastically improving. Beasley is more of a finesse player at this point, so he’ll usually be guarding wings. Joakim Noah, Willy Hernangomez, and Kristaps Porzingis are really interior defenders, so Beasley will need to work hard on close-outs.
That could be an issue, because Beasley was only in the 15th percentile of all players when defending spot-up shooters, per Synergy. That doesn’t bode well for the Knicks, who were just 25th among all teams in defensive efficiency last season, per TeamRankings.com. Despite playing for the Bucks – a much more capable defensive team – last season, Beasley was still subpar defensively.
Beasley isn’t going to have much help, if any, if he ever misses a defensive assignment with this team. He does block some shots when coming over on rotations, but without much of a viable defensive presence on the wing, he’ll need to play there more often. That could greatly negate his shot-blocking as a result.
Beasley is a good isolation scorer, as he was in the 87th percentile in those situations last season (per Synergy). However, it will be much harder for him to produce good shots on a team with less floor spacing. The Knicks were just 21st in three-point shooting last year, compared to Milwaukee being 10th in the league (per NBA.com). New York struggled from distance even with good dribble penetration from Derrick Rose, who is no longer with the team after having a resurgent season.
With the Knicks not having a stable of playmakers on their roster at the moment, it will be tough for Beasley to get many open shots in rhythm. Over the last few seasons, he’s had players like James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Malcolm Brodgon, and Greg Monroe to manufacture open looks for him throughout stretches of games. Don’t expect iso-extraordinaire Carmelo Anthony to be force-feeding Beasley anytime soon, and $71-million man Tim Hardaway Jr. will want his buckets as well (just ask our own Manjinder Singh, who previously touched on that topic).
It’s hard for a high-usage bench player like Beasley to be efficient without getting the ball in his sweet spots on the floor. In turn, if he’s inefficient, that makes it hard to play Beasley consistently over a full season, which would make the signing altogether pointless.