One year removed from an NBA championship, the Milwaukee Bucks remain in a win-now mindset with a core in place that can go toe-to-toe with any team in the league. Adding cheap talent with a late-first-round pick in this year’s NBA Draft was the first step in a crucial offseason for the team, and they cashed in with G League Ignite wing MarJon Beauchamp.
Beyond his selfless offensive game and excellent defensive instincts, Beauchamp makes sense for the Bucks’ culture. Standing at 6’6 with a seven-foot wingspan, Beauchamp influences the game regardless of his role.
He’s a stout and shifty on-ball defender who leverages his remarkable athleticism to glide in front of defenders and contest shots with his entire body. Playing away from the ball for the G League Ignite, Beauchamp impressed by leaving his mark as a rebounder, impact defender, and hustle player.
By pouncing at the ball when exposed or pestering dribbles with his long reach, Beauchamp turns defense into offense and navigates the open court. His speed comes into play when exploiting gaps en route to the basket and exploding at the rim. The 21-year-old elevates quickly and with force, slamming dunks like the rim owes him money to swing momentum in his team’s favor.
That rim pressure translates in the halfcourt, where he can string together enough dribble moves to force his way into the paint for shots near the paint. At this stage of his development, interior scoring is his best offensive trait. Though quickness is a factor, Beauchamps plays at his own pace and gets to his spots with long strides and the threat of a pull-up jumper. This tracked back to his days in Junior College, where he was a near 30-point per game scorer by hitting at all three levels.
Beauchamp hasn’t learned how to leverage that scoring upside into playmaking opportunities. Though he frequently has the right idea about where to pass the ball, Beauchamp often misses his target by relinquishing it a step too late. He’s also somewhat streaky as a shooter despite showing great potential to date. Even with commendable shot selection, his form isn’t consistent at this stage of his development. It’s something he’s working hard to correct.
Where does MarJon Beauchamp fit into the Milwaukee Bucks rotation?
There’s a case to be made that Beauchamp can play for the Bucks from day one. Many players spend their first season in the G League honing their skills and preparing for the next stage of competition, but the swingman already has a year of developmental ball under his belt. Plus, Milwaukee’s questionable depth reared its ugly head in the team’s playoff loss to the Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics.
With his size and experience playing away from the ball Beauchamp would make for a serviceable backup at the shooting guard or small forward. He should be able to exploit cuts to the basket with defensive attention drawn elsewhere, though he’ll need to shore up his passing accuracy to effectively swing the ball as part of head coach Mike Budenholzer’s free-flowing offense.
Playing in a cohesive, methodical team defense might trip Beauchamp up to start, but the hope is that he’d grow acclimated to the game speed early during his tenure in the NBA. If free-agent veteran Wesley Matthews doesn’t return to the team, minutes would immediately become available for the taking.
Still, with Grayson Allen and Pat Connaughton still on the roster, he’ll be forced to compete for his playing time early. Plus, the Bucks may address wing depth in free agency, further limiting the likelihood that he plays consistent minutes.
Beauchamp’s immediate fit with the team is entirely theoretical since no one really knows what a rookie is going to do in year one. However, the 24th pick projects to be a fine defender and selfless role player with a shot at developing into a core piece for the next generation of this franchise.
Aside from Giannis Antetokounmpo, few players on the Milwaukee Bucks force defenders into the paint on a consistent basis. Having another player to apply that pressure while the opposition is focused on Milwaukee’s perennial MVP finalist should create better looks for the rest of the team.
Even if it’s not perfect from the get-go, there’s a clear path for MarJon Beauchamp to make an impact in the regular season and playoffs for years to come.