Over the past few years, the Los Angeles Lakers have desperately needed a boost in the shooting department, with the storied franchise unable to bring in reliable shooters.
The Lakers addressed that need at the NBA trade deadline by acquiring sharpshooter Malik Beasley in the blockbuster trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz. Los Angeles also landed D’Angelo Russell and Jarred Vanderbilt in the deal that ultimately sent Russell Westbrook to Salt Lake City.
Unfortunately, Beasley’s shooting touch didn’t follow him to Los Angeles, as he’s struggled from beyond the arc at times during his stint with the Lakers thus far. However, things have started to turn around, and he talked about keeping his confidence amidst the slump after beating the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.
“Just kept working hard,” Beasley said. “I’ve put in a lot of work, so at some point, it’s gonna fall, and tonight it did. Hopefully, it continues through the playoffs, that’s the time I really want it to come.”
In 25 minutes off the bench against the Suns, Beasley scored 21 points and shot 50% from the floor (7-for-14). The 26-year-old talked about what it’s like to see shots falling.
“It feels good. The rim looks bigger. I can shoot the ball with more confidence and hopefully get the ball more because it’s going in. So it felt good to get out and play a little bit more tonight and take advantage of the opportunity.”
Beasley is one of the many players on the Lakers roster hoping to make an impression before potentially hitting free agency this summer. The veteran guard has a team option on his contract for the 2023-24 NBA season at $16.5 million, which means Rob Pelinka and company control his fate, and at this point, it is uncertain whether they’ll bring him back or move on.
The Florida State product will have an opportunity to prove his worth in the playoffs, as the team will almost certainly count on him to be the knockdown shooter they hoped he would be when they traded for him in February.
It benefits the team that Beasley will have the added motivation to prove himself in the playoffs. It’s also a good position for the team, as it will give Pelinka and the team’s brass a good idea of what they’ll be getting in Beasley if they decide to bring him back for one season or attempt to sign him to a new deal.
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