MarJon Beauchamp had a solid rookie season for the Milwaukee Bucks. The 24th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft showed he was an extremely capable defender and a solid shooter in his limited minutes off the bench. He also showed flashes of three-level potential on the offensive end.
Beauchamp’s promising rookie campaign was ultimately limited by the lack of playing time for the win-now Milwaukee Bucks. That’s understandable to a degree, as Milwaukee was widely considered a contender for the NBA championship. Perhaps to a fault, Mike Budenholzer and the Bucks were focused on winning games, and they gave most of their minutes to more established veteran players
When he did play, though, MarJon Beauchamp showed legitimate flashes of potential on both ends of the floor. If nothing else, he’s shown he can be something more.
Now that their status as a championship contender is not as set in stone, the Milwaukee Bucks will need Beauchamp to make good on that potential and show it on the court this coming season.
Here’s a rundown of how the G-League Ignite product should look to build on his success in his sophomore season.
MarJon Beauchamp needs to establish himself as a defensive force for the Milwaukee Bucks
More than anything, the Bucks drafted Beauchamp 24th to be a defensive contingency against the scoring forwards of the NBA. The Bucks were still struggling to find their P.J. Tucker replacement, and there was hope that he could take on that role eventually.
Beauchamp — who likened himself to Herb Jones of the New Orleans Pelicans on draft night — has the potential to be a lockdown defender in the NBA, and he knows it. He’s a 6-foot-6 small forward with a seven-foot wingspan who can easily match up with most scorers in the league regardless of position.
According to matchup data on NBA.com/stats, Beauchamp held opposing guards to a decent 43.3 percent field goal efficiency when he was the closest defender. When he played small forward, Cleaning the Glass (Subscription required) says he registered a 109.4 defensive rating, which is good for the 89th percentile in his position. It’s clear he’s more than competent in one-on-one situations.
The eye test will tell you that these statistics are because of his physical tools and not so much his skill just yet. He has decent length, a solid body type, and the youthful athleticism to guard multiple positions, but he has yet to work on his fundamentals. His basketball IQ is also serviceable at best, though he’s shown he’s capable of reading passing lanes at a decent level.
One area where Beauchamp can improve is his strength. Weighing in at just 80 kilograms, he is simply not as strong as some of the other small forwards in the NBA and can get pushed around by bigger players. His lateral quickness is also something that should get better after a full-offseason of NBA workouts, and he should be much more equipped to take on NBA-level guards come next season.
The Bucks have historically struggled with filling in the small forward position more than any other spot in their roster post-P.J. Tucker. If Beauchamp can round out as a defender, playing an undersized Wesley Matthews at the three will no longer be a necessity for the Bucks.
Beauchamp came into this league already as a good defender. This coming season, it’s time to take the leap into a legitimate ball-stopper if he wants to help the Milwaukee Bucks win more games.