The Denver Nuggets have selected Florida State guard Malik Beasley with the No. 19 pick.
Beasley, 19, averaged 15.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, and nearly a steal per game during his freshman year with the Seminoles. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard hit 39 percent of his 3-pointers last season, and his ability to stretch the floor will fill an immediate need for Denver next season.
A stress fracture in Beasley’s left leg, which he underwent surgery for after his college season, held him out of pre-draft workouts.
Beasley brings a bundle of offensive moves to the table and is an aggressive defender that has the potential to be a solid two-way role player. He has a pretty stroke on catch-and-shoot plays, always ready to launch quickly with great form. He shot 39 percent from three at FSU and when he’s run off the 3-point line, his dribble pull-up from midrange can be deadly.
He’s not afraid of contact, often finishing strong against bigger players at the rim and when unable to get all the way to the basket, Beasley has shown an ability to hit floaters in the paint. Beasley’s game is at its best in transition, where he plays above the rim and runs the floor hard.
Those easy buckets helped Beasley score in double-figures in all but four games last season, with 11 20-plus scoring performances. He did most of this with a hairline stress fracture in his right leg which was repaired in April.
His leaping ability not only helps him as a finisher but also as a tenacious rebounder among larger bodies. He averaged 5.3 rebounds per game during his freshman season.
Although his defense has room to grow, especially against bigger 2-guards, Beasley gives great effort and makes plays in the passing lanes. The fundamentals of individual and team defense can be taught, but not always the energy and instincts. Beasley brings that tenacity and awareness naturally.
In an interview with Draft Express, Beasley noted that he’s studying some of the greats in order to improve as a playmaker.
“People say I play like Wesley Matthews,” Beasley said.
Beasley burst onto the scene in his freshman season at FSU, but could have benefitted from another year in college. The key areas of weakness in his offensive game are playmaking and ballhandling. He averaged just over one assist per game last season.
The 19-year-old also didn’t handle the ball as much as he will likely need to at the NBA level. He attacks with mostly right-hand dribbles in a straight line and lacks a reliable crossover or really any 1-on-1 moves. Thus, his current NBA value is as a floor spacer in the corner rather than a dynamic scorer. He does have the shooting skills to be multi-dimensional, he’ll just struggle to get to his spots to get those shots up against better defenders.
Defensively Beasley hunts for steals, often leaving his man with a wide-open driving lane. His average size and length will hamper his ability to play post defense and disrupt long-range shots. Beasley also tends to get lost on screens as he did here against Virginia Tech:
More to come…