Rookie forward Michael Beasley's playing time has dwindled in the past three games--18, 15 and 13 minutes--coinciding with the Heat's winning streak. But I wouldn't read too much into it. Coach Erik Spoelstra insisted after Wednesday's practice that Beasley is improving and said it's particularly evident in practices.
He said Beasley's role is likely to grow and that the Heat needs him to impact games. He remains the team's second-leading scorer behind Dwyane Wade. Spoelstra's assessment is that Beasley, 19, is ahead of schedule, particularly if you look at young power forwards that have broken into the league in recent years.
It seems that there is some disappointment with Beasley so far, at least based on reading the comments section in this blog. Yes, he's the future of the franchise and the No. 2 pick so expectations are high, but remember he is 27 games into his rookie season and he's 19. His defense needs improvement but the Heat seem pleased with the progress he's been making. The kid is a natural scorer and remember this is the first time in his life that he's being asked to play defense and being held accountable. Good for the Heat staff, making him earn his playing time. As long as the Heat is winning, perhaps there is something to be said for bringing him along and taking the long view. All indications point to Beasley being a willing learner and hard worker--all good signs.
Now onto the position battle that seems back on between backup point guards Chris Quinn and Marcus Banks. Quinn did not play against New Jersey, while Banks did. Tuesday Banks entered in the first half and then Quinn in the second half. For a stretch this season Banks was not playing at all, while Quinn did see action. Now it's unclear where each stands.
"Right now it's not totally black and white," Spoelstra said, in response to a question about how he determines whether Quinn and/or Banks plays. "It's a situational deal. It depends on who we're playing and what the need is. Marcus gives a defensive disposition, aggressive on the ball, Chris gets us into offense very efficiently, and when he's making shots the offense can be even more explosive."