Straight Sets: Replacing Malik Beasley
Filling Beasley's void in Chris Finch's playbook will require a combined effort.
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Malik Beasley’s Minnesota Timberwolves tenure swung to-and-fro like some sort of possessed pendulum. Never up for long and never dwelling on the downslope either.
His golden heights included a franchise-best for 3-point makes in a single game (11) and a single season (240), a debut season that nudged almost 20 points a night, and an overall combustible scoring nature that could put any game to bed in a heartbeat. On the other hand, the shadowy lows entailed off-court drama and time in prison, a long stretch of awful two-way play to start last season, and an invisible playoff series to finish his Twin Cities stay. From day one Minnesota’s polarizing sharpshooter was a roller coaster.
Now, that tenure is over, and in many ways Beasley’s absence could propel the Wolves forward. His spotty defense won’t be missed, his absence will free up room for Jaylen Nowell to rise into, and there are now very few worries about off-court behavior throughout the roster. However, when Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch peers into his playbook next season, Beasley’s absence will feel like an unfillable chasm.
At times Finch’s rotation wasn’t always kind to his resident shot-hunter, but when it came to executing detailed X’s and O’s, Beasley was the grease that made Minnesota’s wheels spin freely. Beasley, above all else, is an uber-efficient and highly versatile shooter, and that immediately lends itself to all manner of play-calling.
Among others, Finch was enamored with this ‘Screen The Screener Exit’ set to spring open Beasley. While there was an entire bag of tricks that Finch liked to use to deploy Beasley, having him cut through the middle of the paint (giving him multiple avenues to escape from) and using an exit screen to open him up in a corner was always a high priority for Minnesota’s sideline stroller.
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