The Nuggets selected Florida State guard Malik Beasley with the No. 19 pick of the 2016 NBA draft on Thursday night at the Barclays Center.
Beasley averaged 15.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 29.8 minutes per game last year, his freshman season. He helped lead Florida State to the second round of the NIT, where the Seminoles fell to Valparaiso.
Beasley wasn’t necessarily an elite prospect coming out of high school, as the Alpharetta, Ga., native was not a McDonald’s All–American and barely qualified as one of the 40 best prospects for his high school class. But a solid freshman season at Florida State elevated him to potential first–round pick status entering the draft.
Only 19, Beasley still has a lot of room to improve his game, particularly in terms of distribution: He only averaged 1.5 assists in his lone college season. The Nuggets had a surplus of first-round picks, selecting Kentucky guard Jamal Murray with the No. 7 pick and international forward Juan Hernangomez with the No. 15 pick.
Strengths: Beasley pulled off the one-and-done caper that most young players only dream of executing. He did so with efficient scoring and impressive athleticism. As a freshman, Beasley displayed solid outside shooting and awareness in the open floor. He has a high motor and has drawn comparisons to Wesley Matthews due to his effort level on the floor.
Weaknesses: Because he’s only 19, Beasley still has a lot to learn on both ends. Beasley will have to prove he can be a reliable ball handler who can play some point and run a team at times. That means he’ll need to create for himself and others, which was not his strong suit during one year of college.
Grade: A-. Beasley was one of the best shooters left on the board, and the Nuggets keep loading up on guards after taking Jamal Murray at No. 7. Denver has established some positional depth across their roster and justifiably swung for upside here at No. 19. They’re adding a nice player with scoring potential and strong intangibles, and can ease him into the rotation. In my book, Denver is 3-for-3 in the first round.