It’s been a banner week for the Timberwolves’ young ballers. 42 point outbursts, 30/30 games, thrilling buzzer-beaters, interviews on NBATV–it’s like another dimension. But here are some sobering numbers to keep things in perspective.
The first concerns Michael Beasley. Right now, Beasley’s prolific scoring is largely based on hot shooting from from deep two-point territory, generally the lowest-percentage shot in the game. Since the Sacramento game, Beasley his hit 63% of those shots, which is 23 points higher than the league average. Suffice it to say, Kevin Pelton (writing at ESPN Insider) hears the clock ticking on B-Easy’s prolific scoring:
That kind of accurate shooting on long 2s will be difficult for Beasley to sustain. Before [last] Wednesday, he was shooting 42.9 percent from 16 to 23 feet. The league average from that distance is even worse (39.9 percent). While players like Carmelo Anthony and Dirk Nowitzki show that it is possible to make a living with long 2s as a staple, Beasley has not yet proved to be at their level.
Despite his hot shooting, opponents have been mostly conceding Beasley these long looks. The question is: will defenses at some point begin to challenge these shots, or will they simply sit back and wait for him to cool off? Will Beasley respond–to new defensive tactics and his own inevitable cooling–by taking the ball to the basket? Friday’s game against the Lakers would seem to be a good test of all of these questions.