When making a first-round draft selection last summer for the first time since 2018, there were a lot of directions the Milwaukee Bucks could have headed in. A floor general point guard, a backup big man, and a movement shooter would have all patched holes in their depth chart. Most importantly, though, whoever they selected needed to be capable of cracking the rotation and contributing right away. Jon Horst opted to add 21-year-old wing MarJon Beauchamp, who played his pre-league ball for the G-League Ignite, with the 24th pick.
At first, it seemed as though Beauchamp could play real minutes right away. He was a rotational regular from November through January and even started nine contests when the usual openers were injured. However, as everyone has gotten healthy, he has almost disappeared from the lineup as of late. His playing time has been scarcer than hairs on the top of Tom Thiboedeau’s head (might be time to give it up, Thibs).
Coach Bud has received heavy criticism from fans for rarely letting Beauchamp see the court, which begs the question: should MarJon Beauchamp really be a full-time member of Milwaukee’s rotation?
Well, in order to get meaningful burn for a contender, a rookie absolutely has to be able to do one thing at an NBA level. Offensively, that isn’t the case for Beauchamp at this point.
While he projects as a three-level scorer, MarJon has spent the majority of his time behind the arc in his freshman campaign. Almost 60% of his shots come from that range, and while he’s had some hot shooting nights, he isn’t reliable at all. He’s been inefficient on every shot type despite ranking in the 84th percentile of shot quality (via BBall Index) and that would make him a liability in the playoffs.
|Pull Up 3PT%||30.0%|
The other notable struggle for MarJon on O is ball security. He ranks twelfth on the Bucks in total minutes this season but has a turnover percentage that exceeds the rate of every night-in, night-out guy for the squad besides Joe Ingles and Jrue Holiday (in case you were curious, Thansasis paces the team). He gets too sped up at times and is prone to traveling and bad passes. It’s perfectly normal for a rookie to have to adjust to the quick pace of the big league but there’s less room for error on a team trying to compete.
While his offense is a work in progress, it’s the other side of the ball where Beauchamp makes a case for minutes. He’s long, athletic, and has put on some rock-solid displays of individual defense this year. Weaker defenders get relentlessly picked on by smart offenses but he does not fall into that category.
Unfortunately for MarJon, the players he’s competing with for minutes (mainly Jae Crowder, Pat Connaughton, Joe Ingles, and Wesley Matthews) are all more battle-tested and proven on D than him. He’s also more susceptible to blow-bys and off-ball lapses than his veteran peers.
Simply put, the current version of MarJon Beauchamp is not good enough to warrant significant playing time in important contests for Milwaukee down the stretch of the regular season. That said, throwing a youngster into the fire and letting them play through and learn from their mistakes is far and away the most effective method of player development. Beauchamp has all the tools to be a legitimate contributor as soon as next year and as this season winds down it would benefit the team to allow him to spread his wings as a pro while letting some of the older guys save their legs for the big dance in April.
So, to answer the original question, yes, Beauchamp should be part of the lineup for the Bucks. He has the potential to be a key part of the second leg of Giannis’ career and playing him now is the first step in him reaching that position.