San Antonio Spurs Draft Prospect: Malik Beasley
By Ian Smith
The San Antonio Spurs have the 29th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Despite their impressive track record with drafting at this range, it isn’t a given that an immediate impact player will be selected so late in the draft.
Because of that unfortunate reality, a team may choose to optimize their chance at picking a future contributor by not so much drafting based on need, but simply choosing the best player available regardless of position.
Although they have pressing needs above shooting guard, Malik Beasley from Florida State is an intriguing player they should consider drafting if available.
In his one season at Florida State, Beasley averaged 15.6 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game.
He has good height for his position, standing at 6’5’’ and possessing a 6’7’’ wingspan. He only weighs 190 LBS, though, and it would be ideal for him to bulk up once he enters the league.
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He demonstrated impressive shooting ability at Florida State. He shot 47.1% from the field, including a solid 38.7% from 3-point range. A fundamentally sound marksman, he shot 81.3% from the free throw line as well.
San Antonio is one of the best shooting teams in the NBA, and Beasley could instantly contribute as a shooter.
Beasley has been a bit of a late bloomer. He was only ranked as the 36th best high school player in his class by the Recruiting Services Consensus Index.
After just one year at Florida State, though, he demonstrated his ability to be a dynamic scorer, whether through his perimeter shooting or his explosive slashing ability. He finishes strong at the rim, although his ball handling has been somewhat suspect at times.
Beasley excels as both a catch-and-shoot guy as well as pulling up off the dribble. He has the athleticism and quickness to not have to rely on others to set up his scoring chances, although he seems to thrive most as a straight-line rim attacker rather than shaking his man with any ball handling moves.
He relies too much on his first step to initiate separation, and if he’s being guarded by an especially quick defender, Beasley loses a lot of his effectiveness.
Although he has nice rebounding numbers for his position, he isn’t a very gifted passer. That can impede him from establishing a rotation spot for a team like the Spurs that predicates its offensive attack on ball-movement.
Despite being a great shooter off the dribble, his weak ball handling skills make it difficult for him to consistently create his own shots in 1-on-1 situations.
He’s a high energy guy on defense, but often plays with a distinct lack of awareness. He’s far too prone to risky behavior, such as trying to recklessly jump passing lanes to go for a big play.
This leaves his teammates to try to cover up for his mistakes after he finds himself severely out of position.
This seems like a distinctly safe pick to an extent, because at the very least, Beasley can be a valuable shooter off the bench.
He has the explosiveness to get to the rim in most situations, but his improvement as a ball handler will largely determine the degree to which he can become a scoring threat in the NBA.
He needs to play a more stable brand of defense, but Beasley’s main allure to potential teams is his scoring ability.
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He needs to add some diverse offensive moves to his repertoire to make himself more difficult for elite NBA defenders to have to contain, but Beasley enters the league with a solid foundation of scoring skills that can be built upon.