We continue our coverage of the 2016 NBA Draft on InsideTheACC with one of the most impressive freshman in the entire country in 2015. Malik Beasley made his presence felt on both ends of the floor throughout his short time in Tallahassee. There’s no doubt that he’s one of the most athletic players in the entire draft, but will he be able to get by one that aspect alone in the NBA?
- Class: Freshman
- Age: 19
- Height: 6’5″
- Weight: 190 lbs.
- Wingspan: 6’7″
- 29.8 minutes per game
- 15.6 points per game
- 5.3 rebounds per game
- 47.1% overall shooting (38.7% from three)
- 81.3% free throw shooting
Despite the Florida State Seminoles having a down year under head coach Leonard Hamilton, the emergence of a duo of freshmen in Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley helped the ‘Noles hold out promise for the future. With Bacon now returning to school and Beasley moving on to the NBA, Florida State is back in a rebuilding mode of sorts, picking up the pieces from the departure of their two-way guard.
Malik Beasley stepped onto campus in Tallahassee and immediately made his presence felt on both ends of the floor for the Seminoles. The 6’5″, 190 lbs. shooting guard averaged 15.6 points per game on 47% shooting overall from the floor, putting his dazzling range on display frequently for the young Seminoles. His range may define a large portion of his offensive upside that he brings to the table, but Beasley made a name for himself slashing to the rim as well, showing a quick first step and explosiveness off the dribble. When driving the ball in from the perimeter, he leaves little doubt that he is one of the most athletic players on the court. In fact, it’s uncertain whether or not you’ll find even two or three players more athletic than Malik Beasley in this entire draft.
Defensively, Beasley is no slouch either. He frequently utilized his 6’7″ wingspan to bother opposing shooting guards with his length. While he doesn’t block many shots, he clearly makes it difficult for the player that he is guarding to get to the rim at ease, or to shoot an uncontested jumper. While Beasley didn’t stuff the stat sheet with defensive measurables, he translated his length on that end of the floor to grab 4.0 defensive rebounds per game last season, and 5.3 total rebounds per game overall.
With all of the positives in Beasley’s game, what are some of the aspects that he can improve upon at the next level. Well, like many of his peers in this draft class, Beasley would likely benefit from putting on a little bit of muscle. Currently, he weighs in at under 200 lbs., and I believe that if he were able to get into the 210-215 lbs. range while keeping his athleticism on both ends of the floor, it would suit him well moving forward into the NBA. Beasley never had any real issues defending last season, as he even showed an ability to switch and guard many different positions. However, if he wants to be able to maintain the defensive flexibility moving forward, he will have to get bigger, as his counterparts in the NBA will take him to task if they believe that he can be overmatched physically when he defends them.
In addition to to putting on a bit of muscle weight, Beasley needs to also improve his dribbling, as there were times at Florida State last year where he looked like he was playing a little bit out of control. The lack of elite ball-handling often led to some sloppy turnovers, as Beasley finished the season averaging around two turnovers per game. It would be unfair to characterize Beasley as having a turnover problem, but it would be to his benefit on the offensive end to improve his handle in order to become playmaker that he can be.
When Beasley declared for the NBA Draft after his freshman season, it seemed to be a bit of a no-brainer. His athleticism, shooting ability, and near-elite rebounding at his position made him a sure-fire first round talent. Beasley could definitely be a late-lottery selection, but I believe that his sweet spot in this draft will be in the 17-24 range, where he can immediately make an impact on a playoff-caliber roster.
NBA Draft Projection: Mid-First Round Pick