The Minnesota Timberwolves are bringing back Malik Beasley. Let’s look at the inevitable ripple effects of the re-signing.
There was some thought that the Wolves wouldn’t bring Beasley back, due to a combination of his offseason legal troubles and the draft-night acquisitions of No. 1 pick Anthony Edwards and Ricky Rubio.
The Wolves not only convinced Beasley to come back, but they also paid him what appears to be top dollar, although we don’t yet know the annual breakdown of the new contract.
Let’s look at the ripple effect that Beasley’s re-signing will have on the rest of the roster, including rookie Anthony Edwards, last year’s top draft pick Jarrett Culver, and the Wolves’ offensive attack as a whole.
Impact of Minnesota Timberwolves re-signing Malik Beasley: Anthony Edwards’ role
The Wolves drafted Anthony Edwards with the No. 1 pick in the draft. First-overall selections are generally handed a starting role on opening night, and it didn’t seem as though it’d be any different for Edwards.
But the re-signing of Beasley at what appears to be $15 million per year implies that he’ll be team’s starting two-guard. Plus, there’s Ricky Rubio to consider.
Rubio has been a starter throughout his career and is still a starting-caliber point guard. Could the Wolves be considering a starting lineup that includes all four of D’Angelo Russell, Rubio, Beasley and Edwards?
None of those players stand above 6-foot-5, and it’s not realistic to play Edwards at the 4 right out of the gate in the NBA. Could this be an option for a closing lineup, or at least a five-man group that could run with the best small-ball lineups in the league? Absolutely, and that’s undoubtedly what Gersson Rosas and Ryan Saunders are thinking.
Edwards will get his playing time, but the guess here is that the opening night starting lineup will look like this: Rubio, Russell, Beasley, [insert power forward here], and Karl-Anthony Towns. Edwards, Culver, and Okogie will all come off the bench, with Culver given the chance to run the second unit at times.
Beasley isn’t a great defender at the 2, so he’ll have his work cut out for him defending the 3. But at 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan and enough athleticism, he has a shot at holding his own.
This signing means is that Anthony Edwards will not likely be in the starting lineup on opening night, but it does not mean that he won’t get significant run this season.